You probably get tired of hearing that obesity is a serious problem in our modern world, but it is true. Obesity by itself isn’t ideal – it can cause minor health-related problems, as well as pose some challenges in your social life – but the bigger issue is that it also increases your risk for a number of diseases, many of them very serious.
Here is a brief rundown of the diseases that can be caused by obesity.
This is one of the most well known diseases that we know to be worsened by obesity. A poor diet and lack of exercise, while contributing to overall weight, also causes high cholesterol and raises blood pressure, which puts a greater strain on the heart. On the other hand, people who eat better and exercise regularly tend to have lower cholesterol and healthier hearts. Doctors often prescribe drugs such as statins to bring cholesterol down to manageable levels, but recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of such treatment. The best way to combat heart disease is still by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1, which accounts for about 10 percent of all diabetics, is an autoimmune disease that normally strikes in childhood. The person’s insulin-producing cells are destroyed by their body’s own immune system. Type 2, on the other hand, is marked by a resistance to the body’s own insulin, which is increased by obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise. A change to a healthier lifestyle can often reduce or even eliminate the need for medication and insulin.
When a person stops breathing for short intervals during sleep, we call this sleep apnea. How long and how frequent the intervals determines how severe the disease is, and how much of an impact it will have on the person’s physical health and everyday life. Sleep apnea is usually treated by means of a CPAP machine, which prevents the airways from closing during sleep by maintaining a continuous current of air by means of a mask strapped to the person’s face. Obesity can cause or worsen sleep apnea, so an active, healthy lifestyle can reduce or eliminate the need for CPAP equipment.
Arthritis and Back Problems
Obesity doesn’t necessarily cause arthritis or back problems – arthritis can be caused by a number of factors, such as genetics and injuries — but it can definitely make it worse. Putting a lot of weight on your ankles, knees, hips, and back amplifies pain and causes your joints or back to deteriorate faster. On the other hand, losing weight and keeping active not only reduces the strain, it also increases muscle and makes your joints and back stronger and more limber.
Yes, obesity can even increase your risk of certain types of cancer. For instance, colon cancer and prostate cancer is more likely (and often more serious) in obese men, while obese women are more likely to die from the “women’s” cancers, such as ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer.
As you can see, many of the top killers in the United States – heart attack, diabetes, and cancer – as well as many other minor diseases are caused or at least amplified by obesity. Losing weight ought to be a no-brainer, then, and the truth is, many people want to — they just aren’t able to. The problem most dieters make is trying only to lose weight, rather than effecting a permanent change in their lifestyle. Remember, your weight is not the only important factor — how you eat and how active you are can also make a significant change in your overall health.
About the Author: This guest post is by Vern of CPAP supplies, who enjoys writing on a variety of topics, especially those related to health and alternative medicine.