There’s no question about it, excess weight and chronic disease are a toxic duo.
In this article, we take a closer look at how excess weight and chronic diseases can drag you down.
44.8% of middle-aged American adults suffer from obesity. (1)
To make matters worse, an estimated $190 billion is spent each year to tackle obesity and its related chronic diseases. (2)
Here’s what you need to know to not become part of the statistics:
Excess Weight and Chronic Disease
Let’s set the record straight, obesity is not just something that only happens to weak-minded overeaters.
In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes obesity as a legitimate chronic disease.
Further, people with obesity are affected by genetic factors that mess up their metabolic pathways.
Ultimately, this makes it harder to feel full.
This is exactly why one person can still feel hungry after five cheeseburgers while you feel full after just one!
Additionally, people with obesity are a lot more likely to regain the weight they’ve lost.
They need ongoing medical attention to maintain a healthy weight. (3)
Moreover, we have to start seeing obesity in a new light so that we can tackle it from a scientific perspective, rather than simply telling someone to eat less.
Let’s take a closer look at excess weight and chronic disease:
1. Diabetes & Obesity
Out of all chronic diseases, diabetes is the most closely linked to obesity.
Shockingly, around 1 in 10 Americans suffer from diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is too high for too long, and it starts to wear down the body.
Specifically, your body lacks the ability to produce or utilize insulin, which is essential to turning sugar into energy.
High blood sugar and diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including:
Simply put, excess weight stresses out the body and makes it hard for insulin cells to function properly.
Before long, insulin resistance develops and leads to high blood glucose levels and prediabetes.
More than 1 in 3 Americans currently have prediabetes, but luckily it’s not too late for them!
In fact, making healthier lifestyle changes and losing weight can seriously reduce the chance of developing diabetes.
According to one study, patients who adopted a lifestyle-modification program had a 58% less chance of developing diabetes. (4)
Not too shabby!
2. Hypertension & Obesity
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension affects 68 million Americans.
It can also lead to high cholesterol, which can seriously damage the body’s circulatory system and lead to side effects like:
Peripheral artery disease
Let’s just say that having high blood pressure is no fun!
That’s why you should aim to keep your blood pressure levels below 120 mmHg.
In most cases, anything over 130 mmHg counts as hypertension, and 180 mmHg or greater is a hypertensive crisis that requires immediate medical attention.
Studies show that 1 in 4 people with high blood pressure is also overweight. (5)
This is because the more fatty tissue you have, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood.
In addition, obesity puts a lot of stress on the kidneys and arteries.
Luckily, losing weight can help lower your blood pressure and reduce wear and tear on the body.
3. Heart Disease & Obesity
Heart disease refers to a wide range of cardiovascular problems including:
Hardening of the arteries
Poor circulation to the arms and legs
Plaque buildup in the arteries
Heart infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Worst of all, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
So be sure to keep your heart happy if you want to live a long, full life!
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity are all closely connected.
When it comes down to it, you can’t fight against one without the other!
For example, an obese person is far more likely to have diabetes and high blood sugar, which damages the nerves and blood vessels.
And because it’s harder to pump blood throughout a big body, this can lead to hypertension and other serious heart complications.
Excess weight also messes with cholesterol levels, and before long the entire body is a ticking time bomb!
But remember, it’s never too late to make a change. Even moderate weight loss can reduce the risk of heart disease. (6)
4. Cancer & Obesity
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
It is a chronic disease in which cells multiply at an unnatural rate and destroy body tissue.
Having excess weight increases the risk of certain types of cancer, including…
Esophageal Cancer & Obesity
Esophageal cancer affects the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach.
It is the sixth most common cause of death from cancer.
Sudden weight loss
In fact, an obese person is twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer, and an extremely obese person with a BMI of over 40kg/m2 is four times as likely. (7)
Endometrial Cancer & Obesity
Endometrial cancer affects the lining of the uterus.
Some women don’t develop any symptoms, however, others experience vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain.
In reality, you are 2-4 times as likely to develop this form of cancer if you are obese. (8)
Liver Cancer & Obesity
The liver processes the blood that comes from your stomach and intestines.
Think of it like your body’s filter, it makes all the nutrients that flow through easier to use.
Unfortunately, people with liver cancer usually don’t typically experience symptoms in the early stages.
However, as this chronic disease progresses, look out for the following symptoms:
Abdominal pain and swelling
Excess weight and chronic disease make you twice as likely to develop liver cancer. (9)
Kidney Cancer & Obesity
Your kidney is responsible for flushing out toxins and absorbing vitamins and amino acids.
Like liver cancer, kidney cancer does not usually display early warning signs.
As the disease progresses, look out for these symptoms:
Loss of appetite
Sudden weight loss
Back pain that doesn’t go away
Blood in urine
Overweight people are twice as likely to develop certain types of kidney cancer, like renal cancer.
This is because renal cell cancer is strongly linked to high blood pressure, a common symptom of obesity. (10)
Pancreatic Cancer & Obesity
Pancreatic cancer is very deadly and can be difficult to detect.
The pancreas converts the food you eat into energy for your cells.
As the disease progresses lookout for these symptoms:
Sudden weight loss
You are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer if you are overweight. (11)
5. Mental Health & Obesity
An often overlooked effect of obesity is the toll it takes on mental health.
For example, the psychological effects of being overweight and feeling unattractive can drive people into depression.
Ultimately, that depression can then lead to destructive behaviors like binge eating.
Furthermore, overweight people are less likely to exercise, so they lose out on all the psychological benefits of exercise as well.
Believe it or not, you are 25 percent more likely to suffer from anxiety and mood disorders if you are obese. (12)
So always remember, taking care of your physical health is key to a healthy mind.
Staying at a healthy weight is key to preventing chronic disease and living a happy productive life.
If you have any more questions about weight and chronic disease, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.