The Health Effects of Obesity
According to the latest WHO projections, at least one in three of the world's adult population is overweight and almost one in 10 is obese. The risk of health problems starts when you can’t have control over your weight and it keeps increasing. Obesity can have several short-term and long-term consequences.
Accumulation of fat in the body needs more oxygen and nutrients. It makes the heart work harder, requiring the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. Since there is more pressure on the artery walls, the likelihood of high blood pressure is more.
Obesity is one of the common reasons behind diabetes. Being obese makes you resist to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. As a result, the blood sugar becomes elevated and increases the risk of diabetes.
Build-up of fatty deposits in arteries that supply the heart or reduced blood flow to the heart is more likely when you are obese. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is one of the common complications of obesity. Among other complications are narrowed arteries, chest pain (angina), blood clots and heart attack.
Joints are the body's shock absorbers, and each one is supported by cartilage and ligaments, tendons and muscles. Extra body weight puts stress on joints (particularly knees) and hips. This may lead to joint problems, including osteoarthritis.
Sleep apnoea, a medical condition wherein people may stop breathing for brief periods, is associated with obesity. Obesity can interrupt sleep throughout the night and cause sleepiness during the day. It may trigger heavy snoring as well. When the added weight of the chest wall squeezes the lungs and causes restricted breathing, respiratory problems may occur.
Being overweight contributes to the risk for several cancer forms. These include cancers of breast, colon, gallbladder and uterus in women. Men who are overweight have a higher risk of colon and prostate cancers.
The National Cholesterol Education Program has identified obesity as one of the reasons behind metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome comprises six major components – abdominal obesity, elevated blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, elevation of certain blood components that indicate inflammation and elevation of certain clotting factors in the blood.
Obesity puts you at a greater risk of high cholesterol. If there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it can lead to many health problems. Over time, high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, which ups a person's risk for heart disease, stroke, or a heart attack.
When fat builds up in the liver cells and causes injury and inflammation in the liver, liver disease may occur. Cirrhosis (buildup of scar tissue that blocks proper blood flow in the liver) and liver failure are among serious liver complication associated with obesity.
People who are overweight or obese can suffer psychosocial effects. Obese people are often blamed for their condition, weak-willed, having fewer or no romantic relationships.
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