7 Serious Health Conditions That are Linked to Obesity

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obese man measures big belly

Obesity is not a disease in itself. Far too many obese people are healthy and functioning well. However, there is also quite a number who are suffering from serious health issues related to their excess weight.

This is because the cause of a person’s excess weight is dependent on too many factors. While genes, environment, and prenatal conditions are some of the contributory factors to obesity that are beyond your control, some factors are within the realms of your control such as your lifestyle choices.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices like sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and media influence can lead to excess weight and interfere with your body’s health in the long run. Before it’s too late, take control of your weight before health issues that have the potential of putting yourself at risk will take control of your body.

The following serious health issues are often associated with obesity or excess weight.

1. Heart diseases and stroke

Most heart diseases and stroke are associated with excess weight. You have a bigger chance of developing high blood pressure when you’re obese. Too much muscle strain and fat deposit build-up in the arteries can cause them to narrow and prevent proper blood flow. As a result, the heart will put more effort to pump more blood, which results in high blood pressure. When not enough oxygen and nutrients reach the heart muscles, it will cause damage to the muscles that are likely to lead to a heart attack.

On the other hand, a stroke occurs when an area of the brain no longer receives fresh blood because the flow has been totally cut off. The oxygen deprivation will cause brain cells to die, leading to some disabilities like loss of memory or muscle control. To avoid having heart problems, start managing your weight and follow a healthy lifestyle.

2. Gout

gout inflammation on ankleGout is a disease that affects the joints. Excess weight is linked to gout not only because a person’s excess weight is putting more pressure on the joints, but also because of the presence of uric acid that is deposited in the joints.

Professor Hyoin Choi of the Harvard Medical School in Boston explains that gaining more weight makes it difficult for your body to remove uric acid. The more you gain extra weight, the more you accumulate uric acid.

Also, when you’re obese, your body produces more insulin, which inhibits the elimination of uric acid out of the body. High levels of uric acid lead to gout and gout attacks. While problems in gout may seem to come and go, doctors consider gout as a chronic health condition that needs long term treatment. Medication and lifestyle changes are the best ways to treat gout.

3. Obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition characterized by frequent breathing interruptions during sleep. A patient’s breathing abruptly stops for a few seconds and resumes again. Excess weight and obesity are two factors that contribute to sleep apnea.

This happens when the soft tissue of the tongue muscles and throat start to relax during sleep and block the airways, which causes the body to grasp for air. Obese people are then advised to sleep on their sides to reduce the occurrence of this problem.

Treating sleep apnea is also of utmost importance because this health issue can lead to more serious health conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure.

4. Diabetes mellitus

Obesity is another risk factor for type two diabetes mellitus. Type two diabetes develops when your body is resistant to insulin. Excess body weight increases the amount of the substances involved in the development of insulin resistance.

Type two diabetes is a serious condition that paves the way for other health problems like heart disease, stroke, blindness, and even premature death. Luckily, type two diabetes is treatable. Aside from medications, lifestyle modifications including dietary changes, weight loss, and physical activity can reduce your symptoms and lead you back to good health again.

5. Gallbladder disease

Obesity can also lead to a disease in the gallbladder. The gallbladder’s main function is for storage and concentration of bile produced in the liver and released into the small intestine in response to food.

Though scientists can’t specifically point out the direct link between obesity and gallbladder disease, some of their studies show that the disease is more prevalent in obese women.

To avoid gallbladder problems, doctors suggest that obese patients should undergo weight management and dietary changes. They also give the precaution to avoid rapid weight loss, which has also been found to cause gallbladder problems.

6. Cancer

cancer awareness ribbonObesity has also been linked to various types of cancer. Examples are cancer of the ovary, breast, colon, cervix, gallbladder, and uterus in women. Cancer in men associated with obesity includes colorectal and prostate cancer. Obesity is also linked to cancers in the esophagus, pancreas, kidney, and thyroid.

Excess fats in the body can send signals to the cells in the different body parts telling them to divide more frequently. The more cells divide, the more you’re at risk of developing cancer in your organs or other parts.

Numerous studies confirm the higher link between obesity and cancer risk. That’s why health experts are telling people to manage their weight to prevent the onset of cancer.

7. Osteoarthritis

The pressure your joints handle as you gain more weight is no joke. Though this isn’t noticeable as you gradually gain extra pounds, your joints will come to tell you in the long run.

Aside from the harmful load your excess weight caused, extra fats also keep on firing out proteins and biochemicals that cause inflammation. These proteins and harmful chemicals cause inflammation in many areas including the weight-bearing joints on your knees and the non-weight-bearing joints in your hands.

Once osteoarthritis starts to develop in one area, it’s likely to affect other parts of the body. Because other metabolic syndromes, like high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, also occur when you’re obese, osteoarthritis makes the matter worse.

Hence, obesity and osteoarthritis are never a good combination. This is because physical activity is needed for weight loss. But you can’t move freely when you’re disabled by osteoarthritis. This condition alone limits your mobility. So, before osteoarthritis and other metabolic syndromes for this matter hit you, start to manage your weight and live a healthy life that you always wanted to have.