PROBLEMS FACING IN OVERWEIGHT
People with obesity are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including: Heart disease and strokes. Obesity makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and strokes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal. Over time, this can lead to other health issues, like heart disease, nerve damage, stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems.
If you have obesity, losing just
Heart disease is more prevalent in people with obesity. Over time, fatty deposits may accumulate in the arteries that supply the heart with blood. People with obesity have higher than normal blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar, all of which contribute to heart disease.
Arteries that become narrow can lead to a heart attack. Blood clots in narrow arteries can result in a stroke.
Stroke and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. A stroke can cause damage to brain tissue and result in a range of disabilities, including speech and language impairment, weakened muscles, and changes to thinking and reasoning skills.
A 2010 review of 25 studies with almost 2.3 million participants found that obesity increased the risk of stroke by
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which someone may momentarily stop breathing during sleep.
People who are overweight and living with obesity are at a higher risk of having sleep apnea. This is because they tend to have more fat stored around the neck, making the airway shrink. A smaller airway can cause snoring and difficulty breathing at night.
Losing weight can help decrease the amount of fat in the neck and lower the risk of sleep apnea.
Extra fat tissue in the body requires more oxygen and nutrients. Your blood vessels will need to circulate more blood to the extra fat tissue. This means your heart must work even harder to pump blood around the body.
The increase in the amount of blood circulating puts extra pressure on the walls of your arteries. This added pressure is called high blood pressure, or hypertension. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your heart and arteries.
People with obesity can develop a liver disease known as fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This happens when excess fat builds up in the liver. The excess fat can damage the liver or cause scar tissue to grow, known as cirrhosis.
Fatty liver disease usually has no symptoms, but it can eventually lead to liver failure. The only way to reverse or manage the disease is to lose weight, exercise, and avoid drinking alcohol.
Because cancer isn’t a single disease, the association between obesity and cancer isn’t as clear as other diseases like heart disease and stroke. Still, obesity can increase your risk for certain cancers, including breast, colon, gallbladder, pancreatic, kidney, and prostate cancer, as well as cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, and ovaries.
Pregnant women who are overweight or have obesity are more likely to develop insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. This can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, including:
- gestational diabetes
- needing a cesarean delivery (C-section)
- blood clots
- heavier bleeding than normal after delivery
- premature birth
- defects of the brain and spinal cord
In one study,
Many people affected by obesity experience depression. Some studies have found a strong correlation between obesity and major depressive disorder.
People affected by obesity may often experience discrimination based on their body size. Over time, this can lead to feelings of sadness or lack of self-worth.
Today, many advocacy groups, such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), are working to eliminate discrimination based on body size. These organizations provide opportunities to get involved in fighting against this discrimination.
If you have obesity and are experiencing symptoms of depression, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health counselor.
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