Obesity related Health Issues
primary concern of being overweight or obese is one of health
and not just appearance.
Obesity has a direct
relationship to the development of many conditions and symptoms.
This is due to the increased distribution of body fat. For example,
you are 3 times as likely to suffer from hypertension if you are
obese compared to those whose weight falls within the normal range.
If you are 40% or more overweight, you are twice as likely to
die prematurely than somebody who is within a healthy weight range.
Research has shown that some people who are morbidly obese reduce
their lifespan by as much as 10-12 years.
This is because
obesity is known to be linked with the following health issues:
disease, to include heart attacks and strokes
- Hypertension; high blood pressure
- Diabetes, Type 2
- Joint and back disorders
- Gallbladder disease, gallstones
- Some cancers ( endometrial, breast and colon)
- Lack of self-esteem and confidence
- High cholesterol
- Impaired respiratory function
- Deep vein thrombosis, venous insufficiency
- Sleep apnoea
- Liver disease
- Urinary stress incontinence
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, numbness, tingling in hands and
- Low back pain
- Obstetric and gynaecological problems
- Wound infections that will not heal
- Impaired immune response
The above list mentions the main factors related to obesity; there
are many more that could be added.
One of the most
serious risks is the effect that obesity has on the heart. It
is a known fact that 70% of cardiovascular disease today is
related to obesity.
The extra workload
that is put on the heart, whereby it has to work extra hard
to pump blood further around the body, has significant, detrimental
repercussions. The heart beats faster in order to obtain more
oxygen and results in shortness of breath and exhaustion.
Obesity can and often does cause heart failure because the obese
person's heart is overworked. An obese person can experience
heart failure through a heart attack, which is when the heart
muscle dies due to not being supplied with oxygen because blood
flow is blocked through a fat-clogged blood vessel. An obese
person can also experience heart failure through cardiac arrest,
which is when the heart stops beating due to a sudden loss of
function (likely caused by being overworked).
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension (high blood pressure) refers to the pressure that blood
applies to the inner walls of the arteries.
Physicians use the following classifications:
- Normal blood pressure: systolic (top number) equal to or less
than 120 mmHg and diastolic (lower number) equal to or less
than 80 mmHg
- Pre-hypertension: systolic 120-139 mmHg or diastolic 80-89
Stage 1: systolic 140-159 mmHg or diastolic 90-99 mmHg
Stage 2: systolic greater than or equal to 160 mmHg or diastolic
greater than or equal 100 mmHg
The simple fact is that when your weight increases, so does
your blood pressure.
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease marked by high levels of sugar in their blood.
Normally, the body breaks down food into glucose which is then utilized
by the body as energy. The body uses a hormone called insulin to do
this and in Type 2 diabetes, the body cells are unable to use insulin
properly. People who are overweight are more likely to have insulin
resistance, (where the body does not respond correctly to insulin)
because fat interferes with the body's ability to use insulin.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
- Blurred vision
- Increased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Poor wound healing
- Poor circulation
Joint and back disorders
Obesity can have some serious negative impact on your joints, especially
the main weight-bearing joints. Your lower back, hips, knees and ankles
are likely to suffer as a result and can lead to much pain and discomfort.
Joints are built to withstand tremendous strains and pressures from
regular activities. However, they have their limits! When they are
continuously being put under excessive strain, parts of them will
start to break down and you will begin to experience pains. Often,
you will develop bursitis which, if left untreated, can progress
Obviously losing weight is a key to relieving the stress on the
weight bearing joints. Because of the way your joints are built,
5kgs weight loss takes 20kgs off your knees! Joint pain can be debilitating
and can interfere with your daily life.
Obesity and Extra Weight Can Cause Low Back Pain
Along with other health issues that arise from having an unhealthy
weight level, obese and overweight patients have an increased risk
for back pain, joint pain and muscle strain. In particular, overweight
patients are more likely to experience problems in their low back
than patients at a healthy weight level.
This is especially true for people with extra weight around their
midsection as the extra weight pulls the pelvis forward, strains
the low back and creates low back pain. In addition to muscle strain,
spinal structures such as the discs can be negatively impacted by
Patients with significant excess weight also may experience sciatica
and low back pain from a herniated disc or from a pinched nerve
if the discs have been damaged from compensating for the extra weight.
People who are overweight or obese and suffer from back pain may
not be aware that their excess weight is actually contributing to
their back pain. While it has not been thoroughly studied exactly
how excess weight can cause or contribute to back pain, it is known
that people who are overweight often are at greater risk for back
pain, joint pain and muscle strain than those who are not obese.