How excess weight affects your health
It’s no secret that excess weight increasesthe risk of major health problems. Overweight or obese people tend to have heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and depression more often. But the good news is that by losing weight you can reduce your risk of developing some of these problems.
1. Heart disease and stroke
People with excess weight have such health issues as high blood pressure and unhealthy levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke. Obese people have blood pressure 6 times higher than people with normal weight. According to a 2007 study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, being overweight boosts the risk of heart disease by 32% and obesity increases the risk by 81%. As the same study says, even modest amounts of excess weight can increase the odds of heart disease. Also, overweight people face a 22% higher risk of stroke, compared with people of normal weight. The increased risk rises to 64% for people with obesity.
The statistics say that about 90% of people with type 2 diabetes – which is the most common form of the disease – areoverweight or obese. A hallmark of diabetesis high blood sugar level, which is one of the features of metabolic syndrome. If untreated or poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to a number of grave health problems, including kidney failure, blindness, and foot or leg amputations.
According to the study, published in 2010 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, obese people have a 55% higher risk of developing depression over time compared with people of normal weight. There are number of reasons why obesity may increase risk of depression: psychological factors (in modern culture people praise lean body, so overweight people can develop low self-esteem, which is a trigger for depression); both conditions stem from alterations in brain chemistry and function in response to stress; odd eating patterns and eating disorders, as well as the physical discomfort of being obese. The same study also found that depressed people have a 58% higher risk of becoming obese. And this is why: elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may change substances in fat cells that make fat accumulationmore likely, especially in the belly; people who feel depressed often are too exhausted and blue to eat properly and exercise regularly, that’s why they’re more likely to gain weight; some medications used to treat depression cause weight gain.
4. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea (when you snore loudly and temporarily stop breathing many times during the night, waking suddenly with a snort or choke) is a common disorder which often walks hand in hand with overweight and obesity. Sleep apnea not only often leads to daytime sleepiness, it also increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
According to some experts, obesity is the second leading cause of cancer death, after cigarette smoking. The reason can be that people withobesity are less likely to have cancer screening tests such as Pap smears and mammograms.
Excess weight plays a role in so many common and deadly diseases, so overweight and obesity can cut years off your life. Plus, people who are overweight or obese don’t physically active: for example, they have troubles with walking a quarter-mile, lifting 10 pounds, or rising from an armless chair. And being physically active is vital for lifespan.
Losing excess weight can make you feel better both physically and emotionally and can help you live a longer, healthier life. Even a modest weight loss of 5% to 10% of your starting weight can lead to significant health benefits.