If you struggle with your weight, you’re fighting more than just those extra pounds. Obesity is a gateway to several serious health conditions. Each one can negatively affect your quality of life, and some can even be potentially fatal.
Here are seven chronic health conditions commonly associated with obesity.
Type 2 Diabetes
Being overweight or obese puts additional pressure on your body’s ability to produce and properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood glucose levels and converts that sugar into energy. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes insulin-resistant. The increase in the number of cases of diabetes in America correlates with the country’s obesity epidemic. An estimated 90 percent of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Many patients who are obese or overweight also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder deprives the body of oxygen, disrupts sleep, causes snoring and can lead to serious medical complications, including heart problems. Sleep apnea is most often treated using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, requiring patients to wear an assistive device at bedtime.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also directly linked to being overweight or obese. According to the Framingham Heart Study, carrying excess body weight accounts for nearly 28 percent of hypertension cases in women and 26 percent in men. People suffering from hypertension are also at greater risk of contracting heart disease and experiencing a stroke. Uncontrolled high blood pressure weakens the blood vessels, including those in the brain. This condition can also contribute to the formation of blood clots in your arteries.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease (specifically, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD) is common among those who are obese. The liver is the responsible for many of the body’s critical functions, including the processing of food and liquids into nutrients our bodies can use. The liver also filters toxins from the blood. If fat accumulates in the liver, it can lead to serious health issues such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is also linked to obesity. Excess weight places more pressure on your stomach, potentially causing gastric acid to travel back into your esophagus. An estimated 20 percent of people with a body mass index over 25 experience the symptoms (heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, etc.) of this disease at least once a week. In one study, nearly 70 percent of those with a BMI over 30 tested positive for GERD.
Arthritis and joint pain, including pain resulting from a joint injury, are also linked to obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five Americans has arthritis, a leading cause of disability. However, among those who are overweight or obese, that number jumps to one in three. Every pound of excess weight you carry puts stress on your musculoskeletal system — your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. — contributing over time to additional wear and tear on your joints. One pound of body weight equals approximately four pounds of pressure on the joints. If you are 10 pounds overweight, you’re placing an extra 40 pounds of pressure on your joints with every step you take. Excess fat also causes inflammation, exacerbating joint pain and discomfort. Chronic inflammation can also contribute to the development of osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones due to a loss of bone density).
Obesity has identified as a contributing factor in many different types of cancer, including cancers of the esophagus, thyroid, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, liver, colon (including the rectum), breast (after menopause), cervix, endometrium, ovary and prostate.
If you’ve been struggling with your weight and trying to manage any of the above health problems, weight loss surgery can help. When combined with dietary changes and regular exercise, bariatric surgery can reduce your risk of developing any of these conditions and may improve your existing symptoms. To learn more about how weight loss surgery can help you look and feel better as well as improve your overall health, contact McCarty Weight Loss Center today to schedule a consultation.