Discover the health risks.
More than 65 million adults and 10 million children suffer from obesity, considered one of the leading causes of life-threatening diseases. Being morbidly obese can compromise your health, shorten your life, and even cause death. If you are overweight, the probabilities of developing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase significantly. Here are the top 10 obesity-related diseases.
1. High Blood Pressure -- High blood pressure is the primary cause of death among Americans older than 25. About 75 million people suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Blood pressure tends to increase with weight gain and age. It is not known why obesity is a major cause of high blood pressure. However, research has shown that obese patients displayed an increase in blood volume and arterial resistance. For people who are overweight and have high blood pressure, losing as little as 8 pounds can help reduce blood pressure to a safe level.
2. Diabetes Obesity is considered one of the most significant factors in the development of insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, more than 90 percent of diabetes patients worldwide have type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the development of diabetes by making cells more resistant to the effects of insulin. A weight loss of 15-20 pounds can help you decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Read: Exercising with Diabetes.
3. 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. People who are overweight are at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack before the age of 45. Obese adolescents have a greater chance of having a heart attack before the age of 35 than non-obese adolescents. If you are overweight, losing 10-15 pounds can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. If you exercise regularly, the risk of developing heart disease falls even more. Read: Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise.
4. High Cholesterol levels -- High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. 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 heart attack. Having high LDL levels raises your risk of having heart disease by 20 percent. Losing 11-20 pounds can help you significantly reduce your cholesterol level.
5. Cancer -- A study by the American Heart Association found that being overweight increases your chances for developing cancer by 50 percent. Women have a higher risk of developing cancer if they are more than 20 pounds overweight. Regular exercise and a weight loss of as little as 12 pounds can significantly decrease the risk.
6. Infertility -- Being obese can cause changes in the hormonal levels of women, which can result in ovarian failure. Women who are 15-25 pounds overweight are at a higher risk of suffering from infertility and ovarian cancer. Our bodies need to be at an appropriate weight to produce the right amount of hormones and regulate ovulation and menstruation. Don’t think men are immune to infertility. Overweight men have a greater chance of developing motility and a lower sperm count. Shedding 12-14 pounds can help you lower the risks.
7. Back Pain -- Obesity is one the contributing factors of back and joint pain. Excessive weight can cause injury to the most vulnerable parts of the spine, which carries the body’s weight. When it has to carry excess weight, the odds of suffering from a spinal injury or structural damage increase. Being overweight also raises the risk of developing osteoporosis, lower back pain, arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Losing 10-15 pounds can help you decrease the risk of developing these problems.
8. Skin Infections -- Obese and overweight individuals may have skin that folds over on itself. These creased areas can become irritated from the rubbing and sweating, which can lead to skin infections.
9. Ulcers -- According to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), obesity can be a contributing factor to the development of gastric ulcers. Gastric ulcers occur when there is an imbalance between the amount of hydrochloric acid that is secreted and the enzyme pepsin. Overweight men are at a greater risk of developing gastric ulcers than women. A weight loss of as little as 7 pounds can help reduce the risk.
10. Gallstones -- Being severely overweight increases the risk of developing gallstones, especially in women. Gallstones are caused when the liver releases excessive amounts of bile, which is stored in the gallbladder. Gallstones are more common in older women and those with a family history of gallstones. Losing 4-9 pounds reduces the risk of developing gallstones. Moderate exercise also can help lower your risk.
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