The obesity problem is spinning out of control. Case in point: 70 million Americans are obese, and 99 million more Americans are overweight.
Here’s the thing: obesity is entirely preventable. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating the right foods and exercising daily. This article will help you understand obesity and its implications for your body.
Obesity: a short background
Non-communicable diseases are now one of the significant health problems in any part of the world. Examples of this include heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, and obesity. The problem with these kinds of conditions cannot be transmitted from one person to another like how infections would. But how come they are still very prevalent?
Obesity as a non-communicable disease is a lifestyle disease. The way you live your life will dictate if you will have this condition or not. Since obesity is a non-communicable disease, the source of this would be your lifestyle and daily habits. If you always steer away from the healthy stuff, you are increasing your risk of obesity.
Another problem with obesity is that our society’s design is, unfortunately, increasing our risk of being obese. Fast foods are relatively cheaper and convenient, bikes are not road-safe, and exercise is hardly squeezed into our daily schedule.
Also, genetic factors are at play. Your parents’ or close relatives’ genes may influence your risk of developing obesity.
In America, 93.3 million people are obese as of 2016. This is a staggering number! Obesity sure is a problem in our modern society. Our BMIs, or body mass index, measure if you are healthy or not. This measurement is calculated from your height and weight. If your BMI is greater than or equal to 30 kilograms per meter squared, you are obese.
Your whole body’s function can be impaired due to obesity. Both your quality of life and mental health can get poorer.
Health Problems Because of Obesity
The problem with obesity is its associated health problems. Obese people tend to have increased risk and manifestations of other diseases. Let us explore them one by one:
- Heart Disease. Risk factors for heart disease are more significant for obese people. These risk factors include hypertension, high levels of bad cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, these increase your chances of having heart diseases. Furthermore, obesity can put you at risk of clogged arteries. Too much fat in your blood can deposit on your blood vessels, preventing your body from efficiently pumping blood. Heart diseases such as heart attack, chest pain, or rhythm problems will most likely occur.
- Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity can also increase your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. This is a condition where your blood sugar is not within the normal range. If you are obese, your cells will not respond to insulin. Because of this resistance, blood sugar levels will continue to rise. Eventually, your body will have too much glucose or sugar in the blood, which can be toxic to your cells. Consequently, diabetes is also a risk factor for many other health problems like heart and kidney problems and even blindness.
- Hypertension. Obese people have more body weight. Hence, the heart needs to work harder to ensure that all body parts get their required amount of blood and oxygen. However, if this stays for a long time, the body will suffer from increased blood pressure or hypertension. This means that your blood pushes your blood vessels much harder and can strain them in the long run. Kidney damage and heart disease can occur as a result.
- Stroke. Stroke is a very deadly complication of obesity. This happens when your brain’s blood flow is decreased or impeded. A blood clot or broken vessel can occur due to other obesity complications and will take a toll on your brain’s blood supply.
- Sleep Apnea and Breathing Problems. Sleep apnea is prevalent in obese people. This condition makes it difficult for you to breathe during sleep. Moreover, your partner would notice that you snore when you sleep. This means that you are gasping for air while sleeping. As a result, you can have high blood pressure, daytime sleepiness, and some heart problems.
- Liver Disease. When you are obese, excess fat will be deposited into your organs. A dangerous place for fat build-up would be in your liver. Fatty liver disease, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, occurs when fat deposited on your liver becomes damaging. This can lead to the formation of scar tissue or even failure of your liver. If you have a fatty liver, this can increase your risk of having liver cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Cancer. Researchers have concluded that obesity is a risk factor for lots of cancers in the body. A theory that can explain this is that fatty tissue induces hormones to tell your body to grow abnormal cells. These abnormal cells are the ones that develop into cancer cells.
- Depression. Obesity and depression affect each other in both ways. People who are obese have been judged by society. Because of this social stigma, obese people tend to be shamed, isolated, and have relationship issues. This decreased quality of life for obese people leads them to different mental health issues.
Weight loss and diet: the keys
Diet and weight loss can help you lessen health problems if you are obese. As literature states, even 5% weight loss to your current body weight can help you reduce obesity health problems. Improvement of your body when you are obese needs to be done slowly and steadily. Maintaining a good diet, a healthy lifestyle, along adequate exercise can help you stay fit and prevent health problems. You can limit sugar and sodium-rich foods and eat more vegetables and whole grains. High-protein and low-dairy products can also help you manage your weight. Most importantly, avoid smoking and alcohol abuse to ensure a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.