Health Care

How Obesity Impacts Your Body, Mind and Spirit

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Extra weight, especially obesity, impacts every aspect of your health. From respiratory function to memory and mood, obesity also increases the risk of some debilitating and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. It puts your body under the stress of carrying extra pounds and contributes to changes in hormones and metabolism.

Obesity decreases not only your quality of life, but longevity as well, while it increases individual, national and global health care costs. The good news is that weight loss can offset some obesity-related risks. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can provide meaningful health benefits to people who struggle with obesity.

We’re here to illustrate some of the ways obesity impacts your whole health, and to help motivate you to maintain a healthy weight so you can live your best life possible.

Obesity and Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the condition most impacted by body weight. In the Nurses’ Health Study, the risk of developing diabetes was 93 times higher among women who had a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher at the start of the study, compared to women with BMIs lower than 22.

The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found a similar association in men.

Obesity and Heart Disease

Body weight is directly associated with various cardiovascular risk factors. As BMI increases, so do blood pressure, LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and inflammation. These changes increase your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular death.

Obesity and Cancer

In 2007, an expert panel assembled by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that there was convincing evidence of an association between obesity and cancers that affect the following:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrium
  • Esophagus
  • Gallbladder
  • Kidney
  • Pancreas
  • Rectum

The Nurses’ Health Study found that for overweight women who have never used hormone replacement therapy, losing weight after menopause and keeping it off cut their post-menopausal cancer risk by half. This is hopeful news.

Obesity and Depression

The high rates of obesity and depression, and their individual links with cardiovascular disease, have led to an investigation of the relationship between weight and mood. Research found that people who are obese are more likely to have depression than people with healthy weights. Since the studies included in the analysis assessed weight and mood only at one point in time, the investigators could not say whether obesity increases the risk of depression or depression increases the risk of obesity. New evidence confirms that the relationship between obesity and depression may go both ways.

Obesity, Memory and Cognitive Function

Body weight can potentially alter your risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A meta-analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies that included almost 42,000 subjects followed for three to 36 years demonstrated a U-shaped association between BMI and Alzheimer’s disease. Compared with being in the normal weight range, being underweight was associated with a 36 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while being obese was associated with a 42 percent higher risk.

Obesity and Lung Function

Asthma and obstructive sleep apnea are two common respiratory diseases that have been linked with obesity. In one study, obesity increased the risk of developing asthma in both men and women by 50 percent. Obesity is also a major contributor to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is estimated to affect approximately one in five adults; one in 15 adults has moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is associated with daytime sleepiness, accidents, high blood pressure, heart disease and premature death. Between 50 percent and 75 percent of individuals with OSA are obese. Clinical trials suggest that modest weight loss can be helpful when treating sleep apnea.

Make the Choice Toward a Healthier You

The first step to the new healthier, happier you is making a choice. Even if you’re at the stage of just thinking about working toward a healthier weight, you’ve already taken that first step.

Reach out to us and we’ll help you figure out if you qualify for weight loss surgery. If you do and you’re ready for the next step, we’re here to guide you the whole way through.

Visit us here to learn more.

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