The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) reports that more than 40 different medical conditions are associated with obesity and obese individuals are at risk of developing one or more of these conditions. Among the most prevalent and serious obesity-related health issues are:
Type II diabetes is the single health condition most strongly influenced by body weight. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a study that followed 114,000 middle-aged women for 14 years found that those women with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater had a risk of developing diabetes 93 times higher than women with a BMI lower than 22. Fat cells that accumulate around the waist secrete hormones and substances that produce inflammation. This can make the body less responsive to insulin, change the way it metabolizes carbohydrates and fat, and cause high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Various cardiovascular risk factors are directly associated with body weight, including increases in blood sugar, inflammation, LDLs (“bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides. In a meta-analysis of 21 studies following more than 300,000 people for an average of 16 years, researchers found that obese participants had an 81% higher risk of developing Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
In a meta-analysis of 23 studies involving 2.3 million participants, researchers found that being overweight increases the risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot) by 22%, while obesity increases that risk by 64%.
Because cancer is not a single disease but rather a collection of diseases, the link between cancer and obesity is not as clear as it is with diabetes and other health conditions. Nevertheless, research has shown convincing evidence of an association between obesity and cancers of the pancreas, colon, esophagus, rectum, endometrium, kidneys, and breasts.
Other health issues associated with obesity include sleep apnea, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and gallbladder disease.
Obesity can have harmful effects on nearly every aspect of your health, but fortunately, it does not have to be a permanent condition. Diet, exercise, medications, and bariatric surgery can lead to significant, life-improving weight loss. Excess weight is not a problem you have to deal with on your own. Contact the office of Vadim Gritsus, M.D. to learn more about obesity treatment options.