Be Aware Of The Health Risks Associated With Obesity

Posted by Admin Monday, April 11, 2011 7:45 PM
Obesity is a common affliction that is affecting people all over the world. It is not a simple problem, and there is no easy solution. Obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, asthma and many more. Research has shown that obese people are more susceptible to succumbing to these risks, and obesity has become the leading cause of premature death. Obesity is now the underlying cause of more deaths than tobacco.

Though obesity is considered to be a medical condition, the social stigma associated with it has an effect on people's emotional health and damages the self-esteem of those who suffer from it.

In the medical profession, BMI (Body Mass Index) is a formula used to estimate an individual's body fat constitution. You are mildly obese if you have a BMI of 30+ but if your BMI is 50+ then you are suffering from morbid obesity. Though this formula does not provide an accurate measurement of body fat, it is easy to calculate, and can be used to quickly assess your overall risk. There are several online calculators that can be used to figure your BMI. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides both a calculator as well as a downloadable app for your smart phone.

People become obese for several reasons. To put it simply, an increase in consumption of fast foods and soft drinks causes an increase in the intake of calories and carbohydrates. With the proliferation of electronic gadgets and the Internet, people are increasingly leading sedentary lifestyles. A reduction in physical activity and an increase in caloric intake lead to an inefficient burning of calories. The calories instead get stored in the form of fat.

Another often-overlooked reason for obesity is sleep deprivation. Short sleep durations significantly increase the risk of obesity. When you lack sleep, your body produces the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite when awake. Recent findings show that obese people produce more ghrelin than those with anorexia. An increase in your ghrelin levels reduces the amount of leptin in your body. Leptin has the effect of suppressing your appetite. This one-two punch is difficult for your body to overcome.

Additional causes of obesity can include quitting smoking; medications that cause a disruption of the endocrine system; family history; and even some psychiatric illnesses.
Some of the most common health risks associated with obesity are:
  • High Blood Pressure - This chronic condition can lead to severe kidney problems, including chronic kidney failure. High blood pressure can also lead to arterial aneurysms.
  • Heart Diseases and Stroke - Obese people are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes. Elevated cholesterol levels in blood cause arteries to contract, and as a result, the heart has to work harder. Obstruction of smaller blood vessels in the brain is another serious effect of higher cholesterol, leading to strokes.
  • Type 2 Diabetes - An obese person is more likely to become diabetic than others. Though this can be partially controlled by exercise and diet, it is a debilitating disease and is growing worldwide.
  • Osteoarthritis - Obesity is a leading cause of osteoarthritis with nearly 27 million people suffering from this debilitating disease in the US alone.

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