According to live reports, in the January of 2021, more than 1.7 billion adults are overweight, and over 770 million of them are obese. More and more people are being added to the list, and the numbers are concerning.
Even though food and fitness industries are booming due to the increase of overweight people, healthcare systems are under tremendous stress and burden because more overweight and obese people mean more health issues and complicated operations to save people’s lives.
Here you can find the 14 most common health risks and consequences that are unfortunately inseparable parts of overweight and obesity. You’ll also get a better understanding of how each of these diseases and consequences is linked to overweight.
Type 2 Diabetes
A whopping 87% of adults with diabetes are also overweight or obese. There isn’t a clear connection of why overweight people are more likely to develop this disease. However, it seems that being overweight induces cells to change, making them resistant to the hormone insulin, which carries sugar from the blood to the cells, where it is used for energy.
So when an individual is insulin resistant, blood sugar can’t be soaked up by the cells, which leads to high blood sugar. Also, the cells responsible for producing the insulin hormone need to operate on a very intense level to keep blood sugar normal. Unfortunately, this may lead these cells to fail slowly.
High Blood Pressure
There are two main ways of how high blood pressure is linked to being overweight or obese. Excess fat may harm your kidneys, which help to regulate blood pressure. Also, when a person has a larger body size, the heart needs to pump harder to supply blood to all of your cells, leading to increased blood pressure.
Overweight and obesity-related health problems like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol may increase heart disease risk.
As mentioned before, overweight and obesity often lead to increases in blood pressure and, in turn, high blood pressure is the number-one cause of strokes.
Even if the weight gain doesn’t result in overweight or obesity, gaining excess weight as an adult still increases cancer risk. But similarly to type 2 diabetes, it isn’t precisely known how being overweight and cancer risk are linked. However, one explanation could be that fat cells release hormones that affect healthy cell growth, leading to cancer. Also, poor nutrition and physical activity habits may facilitate cancer risk.
Weaker Immune System
Especially during recent times when the world is battling the coronavirus, more and more data emerges about the primary victims who suffer the worst every day. One of the most significant risks for severe illness from COVID-19 is overweight and obesity, usually associated with concurrent diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Breathing Problems (Sleep Apnea)
One of the leading causes of sleep apnea is overweight, since excess fat may be stored around the person’s neck, making the airway smaller. This can make breathing troublesome or loud (e.g., snoring), or in some cases, breathing may entirely stop for short periods.
Also, the excess fat around the neck and throughout the body may excrete substances that cause inflammation. If the inflammation happens to develop in the neck area, sleep apnea can easily be the next up on the line.
Other than sleep apnea, overweight people are often suffering from not taking as much air since the lungs aren’t working in their full capacity. This may get you quickly winded when doing simple activities like climbing stairs or tying shoelaces.
Pregnant women who are overweight are more inclined to develop high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance (which leads to type 2 diabetes). This can also increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, including heavier bleeding, blood clots, premature birth, needing a cesarean delivery (C-section), and even worse issues.
Besides, gaining too much weight during pregnancy may have long-term effects for both mother and child. For example, whether the mother will have overweight or obese after the child is born, or whether the baby may gain too much weight later as a child or adult.
Along with older age, genetic factors, and joint injuries, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for osteoarthritis. Extra weight that your body isn’t originally used to may place additional pressure on joints and cartilage (the solid but slippery tissue that covers the ends of your bones at a joint), making them wear away.
Overweight people may also have higher blood levels of substances that cause inflammation, which, in turn, may increase the risk for osteoarthritis.
Fatty Liver Disease
Eating excess calories can lead the fat to build up in the liver. When the liver doesn’t process fats as it usually should, too much fat will accumulate, leading to fatty liver disease. However, eating excess calories isn’t the only root of all evil – health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, may also contribute to the development of the fatty liver.
As you’ve already understood, for now, many of these health issues and complications are linked to each other. The same principle applies to kidney disease, which main preconditions are diabetes and high blood pressure. But even in the absence of these diseases, obesity may contribute to chronic kidney disease and accelerate its progress.
High Cholesterol Levels
Sometimes, high cholesterol is an inherited condition, but other diseases, such as diabetes, can also play their role. However, most cases of high cholesterol levels are due to two general lifestyle choices:
- Low physical activity and getting consistently little to no exercise
- Eating food that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol
As one can conclude, these two factors also often lead people to obesity. Also, high cholesterol may lead to gallstones.
Low Quality of Life
Let’s face it – life isn’t easy when you are bearing a lot of extra weight with you wherever you go. Most activities make you quickly break out the sweat or get you winded. You can’t have fun with your friends or children because everything requires a lot of effort from you and the enjoyment gradually fades with it.
Most people think that overweight and obesity are only troublesome and challenging for a person’s body and physical activity, but sometimes the most significant burden falls on their mentality.
You may also like our article about How Fixing Psychological Factors Can Help You Overcome Obesity.
Things like poor body image, neglect, abuse, and bullying often lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental disorders that, in most cases, are even harder to deal with because they drag you internally in a deeper hole.
As this long list of different health risks and consequences stated, there are plenty of issues to be aware of when being overweight or obese. Contact our team to roadmap the best possible action plan for your current situation, and let’s save you from the worst.