If you are overweight, it’s not just about the extra pounds. The more excess weight you carry, the higher your risk of developing weight-related health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers. Each of these health problems affect quality of life and can reduce your life expectancy.
Making the decision to lose weight could literally save your life. Here’s a look at some of the most common health risks of obesity.
Type 2 Diabetes
The body depends on insulin to control blood sugar levels, but being overweight or obese puts strain on your body’s ability to produce and properly use insulin, resulting in insulin resistance and diabetes. America’s increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes is directly related to the rise of obesity in our country. An estimated 90 percent of people living with type 2 diabetes in America are overweight or obese.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be the result of excess body weight and is one of the more common risk factors of obesity. According to the infamous Framingham Heart Study, overweight and obesity accounts for about 26 percent of cases of hypertension in men and 28 percent in women. If you have hypertension, you are at an even greater risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects many people who are overweight or obese. Sleep apnea disrupts sleep, causes snoring and can lead to reduced oxygen levels and serious medical complications.
Fatty Liver Disease
An accumulation of fat in the liver can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is common in people who are obese. Fatty liver disease inhibits the liver’s ability to perform critical functions in the body, including processing foods and liquids into the nutrients the body needs to function and filtering harmful toxins from the body. Fatty liver disease can result in cirrhosis of the liver, and may lead to liver cancer and eventual liver failure.
Being overweight or obese has 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.
Acid reflux is an uncomfortable condition in which stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus. Excess body fat can increase pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux or GERD. It is estimated that 20 percent of people with a body mass index over 25 experience symptoms of acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) at least once a week.
Arthritis and joint pain is often the cause of being overweight or obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in three Americans who are overweight or obese have been diagnosed with arthritis. Every pound of extra weight increases stress on the joints by about four times, resulting in joint damage over time. Excess fat can also cause inflammation in the joints causing pain and influencing the development of osteoporosis.
If you suffer from any of these medical conditions, the good news is that losing even a portion of your excess body weight can result in significant improvements in your health. In fact, numerous studies show that bariatric surgery procedures are effective in treating type 2 diabetes. Nearly all diabetic patients who undergo weight loss surgery will experience improvement or total remission of the disease.
Are you ready to reclaim your health and improve your quality of life? Making the decision to have weight loss surgery could truly save your life. Why wait another day? Contact your First Baptist Medical Center bariatric surgeon today.