Across the United States, an estimated 10 to 12 million adults can be categorized as “morbidly obese,” meaning they are more than 100 pounds overweight. Even if you aren’t carrying around 100 pounds or more of excess weight, being overweight or mildly obese could contribute to a number of serious or life-threatening health conditions.
Excess weight can dramatically increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Here are some of the dangerous health conditions commonly associated with obesity:
Being overweight or obese puts added pressure on the body’s ability to produce and properly use insulin to control blood sugar levels, increasing one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 90 percent of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that disrupts sleep, causes snoring and can drop oxygen levels during sleep and lead to serious medical complications. It is common in patients who are overweight or obese.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also directly linked to being overweight or obese. People with hypertension are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Uncontrolled high blood pressure weakens blood vessels in the body, including in the brain, and can contribute to the formation of blood clots in the arteries leading to the brain, potentially causing stroke.
Fatty liver disease (specifically non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD) is common among people who are obese. Fatty liver disease impacts the liver’s ability to maintain its many critical functions in the body, including the processing of food and liquids into nutrients our bodies can use. The liver also filters toxins from the body. NAFLD can result in cirrhosis of the liver, and potentially liver cancer and/or liver failure.
Obesity has also been linked to a number of different types of cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, breast (after menopause), endometrium, kidney, thyroid, gallbladder, liver, cervix, ovary and prostate.
Losing weight in any manner can help lower your risk of a potentially fatal health condition if you are seriously overweight or obese. Since the early 1990s, bariatric surgery has been recognized as the only durable means of weight loss for people who are morbidly obese. Bariatric surgery sleeve, gastric bypass or gastric banding, however, are not a cure-all, but should be considered a tool to help patients lead a longer, healthier life. Results from bariatric surgery and a patient’s ability to maintain weight loss is dependent on the patient following doctor’s guidelines for bariatric surgery diet and exercise after weight loss surgery.
If you are overweight or obese and you have been diagnosed with one of the serious health conditions listed above, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your First Baptist Medical Center bariatric surgeon. Making the decision to have weight loss surgery could truly save your life.