Obesity rates are rising more each year. Currently, more than 604 million adults and 108 million children around the globe suffer from obesity, considered one of the leading causes of life-threatening diseases, according to research from The New England Journal of Medicine.
Why is obesity considered to be life threatening? Having obesity can compromise your health, shorten your life, and even cause death. If you are overweight, the probabilities of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure increase significantly. Obesity can be linked to many diseases, spread throughout various parts of the body. However, the conditions listed are only a few of the medical conditions related to obesity. Listed below are the top 10 obesity-related diseases.
1. High Blood Pressure — Consistent high blood pressure can lead to numerous health problems and tends to increase with weight gain and age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 75 million people suffer from high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which is a major risk factor for heart disease. In 2014, high blood pressure was the contributing cause of death for 410,000 Americans. It is not known why obesity is a major cause of high blood pressure; however, research has shown that patients with obesity displayed an increase in blood volume and arterial resistance. According to the American Heart Association, losing as little as 10 pounds can help reduce blood pressure to a safe level.
2. Type 2 Diabetes — Obesity is considered one of the most significant factors in the development of insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. To make matters worse, the rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing considerably. According to the Centers for Disease Control, out of all the cases of diabetes, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent, while 5 percent of patients have type 1 diabetes. Although the exact cause is unknown, there are several ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is through healthy diet, weight loss, and exercise. Research from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, suggests that losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight can help decrease your risk of developing this disease.
3. Heart Disease — One of the most serious health risks of obesity is heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, obesity is a major risk factor for developing coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Studies have proven that individuals, who are overweight, can experience heart attacks at an earlier age. Individuals who have obesity are at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack before the age of 45. However, obesity also puts adolescents at risk. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology, states adolescents with obesity have a greater chance of having a heart attack before the age of 35 than adolescents without obesity. Despite these statistics, you can fight back by losing weight and exercising regularly. According to the American Heart Association, all it takes is losing 3 to 5 percent of your body weight.
4. High Cholesterol — High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. So, how exactly do you get high cholesterol? High cholesterol is usually inherited, but often it’s caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. Cholesterol is transported through your blood in two ways: the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which transports cholesterol to the cells that need it, and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the healthy cholesterol that reduces your risk for having a heart attack. Individuals with high cholesterol increase their chances of having heart disease significantly. Having high LDL levels raises your risk of having heart disease by 20 percent. In most cases, high cholesterol is reversible through weight loss, and all it takes is losing 10 to15 pounds.
5. Cancer — The link between obesity and cancer is not as clear as that of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Cancer is a disease that may affect different parts of the body. What we do know is that the American Heart Association found approximately 20 percent of cancer in women and 15 percent of cancer in men is attributable to obesity. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, overweight and obesity increase the risk for several types of cancers including esophageal, liver, kidney, stomach, colorectal, advanced prostate, post-menopausal breast, gallbladder, pancreatic, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. Additionally, women who have obesity face a higher risk of developing gallbladder cancer, as stated by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. The solution to prevention is simple; to reduce the risk of developing cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research recommends exercising at least 30 minutes a day.
6. Infertility — Having obesity can cause changes in the hormonal levels of women, which can result in ovarian failure, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Recent research shows that women who have 15 to 25 pounds of excess weight face a higher risk of suffering from infertility and ovarian cancer. This is because women’s bodies need to be at an appropriate weight to produce the right amount of hormones to regulate ovulation and menstruation. Don’t think men are impervious to infertility, as men can also face problems when it comes to having children. Men affected by obesity have a greater chance of developing motility and a lower sperm count. According to a study published in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences losing as little as 5 to 10 percent can cause positive outcomes including, improving fertility outcomes.
7. Back Pain — According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity can cause wear and tear on your bones, which is why it is one the contributing factors of back and joint pain. Excess weight can cause injury to the most vulnerable parts of the spine. When it has to carry excess weight, the odds of suffering from a spinal injury or structural damage increase. Having obesity also raises the risk of developing osteoporosis, lower back pain, arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Nonetheless, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that losing 14 percent of your body weight can improve musculoskeletal pain.
8. Skin Infections —Individuals affected with obesity may have skin that folds over on itself. These creased areas can become irritated from rubbing and sweating, which can lead to skin infections, as stated in research published in the British Journal of Dermatology. As a result, rashes and painful crusting can occur. The best solution for this type of condition is maintaining personal hygiene and losing weight.
9. Ulcers —Various abdominal ailments, such as ulcers can be linked to having obesity. According to a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology, excess weight may promote inflammation in the gut and thus, obesity can be a contributing factor to the development of gastric ulcers. How do gastric ulcers form? Gastric ulcers occur when there is an imbalance between stomach acids and enzymes. Furthermore, men who have obesity are at a greater risk of developing gastric ulcers than women, according to a study published in the International Journal of Chronic Diseases.
10. Gallstones — According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, obesity has other burdens including, development of gallstones and women are more susceptible. Gallstones form when the liver releases excessive amounts of bile, which is stored in the gallbladder. This disease is more common in older women and those with a family history. Rapid weight loss can also cause gallstones; however, you can lower these risks by exercising regularly and losing weight gradually.
Ultimately, losing weight is the key to improving and preventing these risk factors. A healthy weight sets the stage for bones, muscles, and organs to play their parts in running smoothly and efficiently. At Medi-Weightloss®, we aim to improve the lives of our patients by providing preventive care. Researchers at Medi-Weightloss® have found that patients who lost 25 to 35 pounds significantly decreased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and need to lose weight, Medi-Weightloss®: DM can help you manage the disease through nutrition and fitness education, while teaching you the lifestyle changes that help you get to and maintain a healthier life. Medi-Weightloss® can help people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes lose weight and lower their blood sugar levels. Give yourself a second chance and take action towards a healthier, happier you!
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