What are the health risks of being overweight or obese?

  • Coronary Heart Disease — As your body mass index rises, so does your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause angina or a heart attack. Obesity can also lead to heart failure. This is a serious condition in which your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.

  • High Blood Pressure — High blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. Your chances of having high blood pressure are greater if you’re overweight or obese.

  • Stroke — Being overweight or obese can lead to a build-up of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke. The risk of having a stroke rises as BMI increases.

  • Type 2 Diabetes — Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s blood glucose, or blood sugar, level is too high. Normally, the body breaks down food into glucose and then carries it to cells throughout the body. The cells use a hormone called insulin to turn the glucose into energy.

In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the body reacts by making more insulin. Over time, however, the body can’t produce enough insulin to control its’ blood sugar level. Diabetes is a leading cause of early death, CHD, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. Most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight.

  • Cancer — Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial and gallbladder cancers.

  • Gallstones — Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They’re mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause stomach or back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn’t work well.

  • Abnormal Blood Fats — If you are overweight or obese, you will be at an increased risk of having abnormal levels of blood fats. These include high levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Normal levels of these blood fats are a factor for CHD.

  • Sleep Apnea — Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. A person who has sleep apnea may have more fat stored around the neck. This can narrow the airway, making it hard to breathe.

  • Reproductive Problems — Obesity can cause menstrual issues and infertility in women.

  • Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.

  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome (OHS) — OHS is a breathing disorder that affects some obese people. In OHS, poor breathing results in too much carbon dioxide (CO2) causing hypoventilation and too little oxygen in the blood called hypoxemia. OHS can lead to other serious health problems and even death.

obesity picture

Being overweight or obese isn’t just a cosmetic problem. These conditions significantly raise your risk for other health problems.

Dr. Ramona Valentine

Dr. Ramona Valentine

If you have any questions regarding this article, please email me at doctorvalentine@aslimmeryou.us

Dr. Valentine is a weight loss consultant, a health consultant and a chiropractor. You can reach her at 855-771-SLIM (7546) or stop by A Slimmer You at 10300 49th St. N, Suite 211. Log on to www.aslimmeryou.us for more information.

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