Being overweight reaches beyond personal appearance and pride. If you are overweight, you are likely to trigger or worsen any number of health problems. Obesity is now thought to be as big a cause of ill-health as smoking!
I have listed the major health problems associated with being obese or overweight. Its important to remember that I am not saying you will have these problems. Rather, your chances of having at least one significantly increase the more excess weight you carry.
Heart disease and stroke
Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability in the western world. Being overweight increases your chances of angina and sudden death from heart disease and stroke. Recent research suggests that if your waist size is above 35 inches your risk of heart disease is high.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure rarely makes you feel ill. That is not to say its harmless. It can lead to heart disease. Being overweight is one of the causes of high blood pressure.
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) is the most common type of diabetes. About 8 in 10 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Carrying extra weight may cause the insulin the body produces to work less effectively. This makes diabetes more likely to develop. The effect is more severe if the excess weight is around the waist. One of the most serious long term risks of diabetes is cardiovascular disease.
Cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), cervix, gall bladder, and ovary are associated with obesity in women. Overweight men are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer, cancer of the colon, and cancer of the rectum.
In 2002, it was estimated that approximately 3% of all new cancers are linked with obesity. A recent study estimated that, in the United States, 14 percent of deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of deaths in women were due to overweight.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. It can also cause daytime sleepiness. The more overweight you are, the greater the risk of developing sleep apnea.
This joint disorder normally affects joints in your knees, hips, and lower back. The extra weight increases the risk of osteoarthritis. The excess weight is thought to wear away the protective cartilage from the joints.
You also increase the risk of the following if you are overweight:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Vaginal prolapse of the rectum, womb, and/or bladder.
- Poor recovery from medical operations