Published on March 7th, 2013 | by George Conte0
Dangers and Effects of Obesity
In this article I will try to cover all the dangerous effects of obesity. Many people that face the problem of obesity believe that their condition is a minor annoyance and can be dealt with quick and easy solutions or even worse it can be left alone as long as it doesn’t cause immediate pain to them. I was one of those people that didn’t care, until I realized that I already had amassed multiple health problems caused by obesity and many more to come in the future.
Obesity is a medical condition
Obesity is recognized as a disease by the medical world since it leads to many negative health outcomes for an individual.
Apart from health reasons, obesity causes other major problems. For example, psychological problems, lack of quality of life, bad mood, depression, fatigue, low self-esteem and social discrimination.
The above problems that accompany obesity are resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. This is why obesity must be treated as a disease.
The negative effects of obesity on both physical and mental health have made diet and combating obesity, key issues and problems for all modern and sophisticated societies that now seek resolution.
Obesity currently affects 15% of the population and is a key factor and a cause for many diseases. Studies show that obese people are at risk in greater extent than the rest of the population to become ill and have a lower life expectancy.
Especially in ages from 30 to 42 years, the relative mortality risk is increased by 1% for every pound of weight gained while at ages from 50 to 62 years for the same weigh increase the relative mortality risk increases by 2%.
Health risks of obesity (related directly or indirectly)
Obesity can create serious problems in the cardiovascular system. Studies of large population groups worldwide have shown that coronary disease and strokes are more common in obese people. However what is not known is whether the problems are due to obesity or the effect of other cardiac factors.
Evidence suggests that obesity can cause predisposition to coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac failure and death, regardless of age, cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiac hypertrophy and diabetes. In women there is greater frequency of the relationship between obesity and strokes.
A characteristic fact is the increased risk for cardiovascular disease for men under 50 years old whose weight exceeds 30% of normal while they are not smoking, not having hypertension, diabetes, cardiac hypertrophy or cholesterol.
Other researchers reported that obese males, 25-34 years old, had an increased death rate frequency of 12 times more, compared to the general population. Some of these deaths may be due to coronary heart disease, cardiac failure or thrombosis in various points of the body.
Diabetes Type II
There is a direct relationship of obesity and Type II diabetes. The reason is that overeating can lead to glucose oversupply and eventually to overproduction of insulin. Chronic overproduction of insulin reduces the sensitivity and the number of insulin receptors in cells which marks the start of diabetes. Therefore obesity leads to diabetes especially in people who have a genetic predisposition.
It has been shown that obesity is accompanied by an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, increased triglycerides and reduced HDL (good) cholesterol. These pathological changes are associated with weight gain, but are most common when the fat is distributed in the higher parts of the body and mainly in abdomen. People with normal weight at a young age have fewer chances of developing hyperlipidemia in their lives
Studies have shown that hypertension in a population grows when body weight increases. The mechanisms causing hypertension when the weight is increased are many and known. The most important of them is the hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin) of obesity. Obesity is directly related to hypertension and therefore obese people are at risk of other cardiovascular diseases. However, if an obese hypertensive person lost even half of the excess weight then his blood pressure returns to normal levels.
Obesity and poor nutrition has a direct relationship with the occurrence of various cancers. For obese men there is increased incidence of prostate and colon cancer. For obese women the risk is greatly increased for breast, bladder, cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancers.
The frequency of cholelithiasis increases with weight gain. It is considered that 1/3 of the women that have done a cystectomy were obese.
Obesity aggravates all pulmonary diseases because it makes it difficult for the mechanisms of respiration and bloodstream to the lungs to work. The respiratory effort increases by 30%due to obesity. The total blood volume also increases while the amount of oxygen contained therein is limited.
But the most important problem that obesity causes to the respiratory system is the “obstructive sleep apnea “, which is a type of transient suffocation during sleep. This problem can appear as intense snoring, pauses in breathing during the night, poor sleep quality, sleepiness, arrhythmia and hypertension. The frequency of this disease has reached 2 to 8% of the general population and it is directly related to obesity. The cure is weight loss.
Through obesity, all bone diseases become worse, because the increased load causes new or already existing problems in the bones and joints to exacerbate. The most frequent problems in joints (due to obesity) appear in men of young age and are:
• Osteoarthritis of the joints that receive substantial weight (knees and hips).
• Low back pain, sciatica, spinal disc herniation
• Hyperuricemia and Gout.
With obesity it is very common to have fatty infiltration in the liver. The most severe manifestation of that problem is “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” that resembles alcoholic hepatitis. Characteristic is the fact, that when the body weight is near normal the liver then is fully restored, something that doesn’t happen with other liver diseases.
Obesity is characterized by a multitude of endocrine disorders, some of which pre-appear and others are simply a consequence of. These disorders are either cause or result and fortunately most of the times can be manageable. The most common problems appear:
- In the age of puberty in both sexes where they can cause significant problems
- In adult women where they can be menstrual disorders with decreased fertility, while in men there is reduction of male hormones.
The aesthetic part of the problem should not be ignored, especially once associated with the psychological health of obese individuals but also with their professional pursuits.
Most people focus on the aesthetic, social or psychological problems related to obesity. Unfortunately such problems are not the only or even the most important.
If we truly realize the severity of all the health issues mentioned above it is apparent that obesity can cause serious effects on the health of individuals and thus should be immediately treated and not ignored as something transient.