The Health Risks of Obesity
There are a number of health issues related to being overweight and obese for men, women, as well as for children. Listed below are the major risks posed which are associated to obesity.
Type 2 Diabetes
Over 80 percent of individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes, by far the most common form of diabetes, are either overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body is incapable of producing enough insulin in the blood, or when blood cells are unable to absorb the insulin. Given time, type 2 diabetes develops due to the inability for the body to achieve a regulated blood sugar balance.
Those who suffer because they are overweight or obese, may also develop an increased incidence of heart disease, which can then lead to the following heart conditions:
- Congestive heart failure
- Heart attack
- Sudden cardiac death
- Angina (decreased blood supply to the heart)
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
Obesity generally heightens the risk of heart disease, in part due to the adverse effect the condition has on the levels of blood lipid. Blood lipid increases, which gives rise to an increase in triglycerides as well as low-density lipoprotein, which are recognized as “bad cholesterol” (LDL). Further, the levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) drop, thereby increasing the risk for heart disease.
Hypertension or high blood pressure increases the risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure. Obesity raises the risk of the onset of high blood pressure. Nevertheless, studies have shown that losing weight has the greatest positive effect in lowering blood pressure.
Metabolic syndrome is a rapidly growing obesity-related health concern within the United States affecting 22% of the population, which is approximately 47 million people. It is typified by a variety of health issues including high blood sugar, abnormal lipid levels, hypertension, as well as obesity. These problems may develop into heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This hormonal disorder is prevalent among overweight or obese reproductive-age women. It is characterized by excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles, and ovarian cysts. PCOS causes insulin resistance which means that it greatly heightens the risk of the development of diabetes. It also can affect overweight adolescent girls.
In men, obesity has proven to adversely affect their ability to reproduce causing sexual dysfunction, infertility, and hormonal imbalances. In tandem with an increase in weight, it has been clinically proven that oestrogen levels heighten, where testosterone levels diminish. This has an over-all detrimental effect on fertility.
In women, obesity compromises reproductive ability. Issues relating to obesity and women can include:
- Difficulties with ovulation
- Increase in androgen levels
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- An increase in the risk of miscarriage
Dyslipidemia develops quite often when obesity has a harmful effect on lipid levels within the blood. It occurs when triglyceride and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels are particularly high and HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) is low. This change in lipid levels is attributed to weight gain, where losing weight has, as you might expect, quite the opposite effect.