One of the greatest healthcare challenges that the world is currently facing is obesity. As per WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016. And out of this, 650 million people were obese*.
Obesity may increase the risk of several health complications. Here are eight health complications that are directly linked with obesity.
Obesity affects the blood sugar level.
One of the prime factors that acts as precursor for type 2 diabetes is Obesity. It promotes insulin resistance in our body. Insulin is a crucial hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels in our body. When the insulin produced in the body is insufficient, the blood sugar remains elevated. This is referred as insulin resistance. Inflammation caused in the body due to excess fat deposition around the waist makes the body less responsive to insulin. Subsequently, this affects the way the body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates. As a result of this, the blood sugar level increases.
Obesity affects the bones and joints in the body
Being overweight or obese puts an extra burden on the bones and joints of the body. People with obesity are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. The body’s extra weight puts mechanical strain on the bones, and primary joint areas like knees and hips are affected the most.
Obesity has a huge impact on heart health.
Obesity impacts many body’s organ, and one of the most vulnerable organs is the heart. Obesity has been the leading cause of death globally due to heart disease and stroke. The risk of cardiovascular diseases increases with an increase in the body mass index. Additionally, obesity can cause or worsen hypertension in a variety of ways. Health issues associated with obesity like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, can increase the risk of stroke.
Obesity triggers cancerous growth.
Several studies have found a link between obesity and cancer. There is research-based evidence of a clear association between obesity and cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, breast, endometrium, gall bladder, and kidney.
Obesity can lead to pregnancy complications.
There is stronger evidence supporting the role of obesity and reproductive health. Obesity influences various aspects of reproduction, from sexual activity to conception. Obesity can cause infertility making it difficult for individuals to conceive. Obesity decreases the rates of successful pregnancy in natural conception cycles. During pregnancy, obesity increases the risk of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure disorder that can occur during pregnancy), and other complications.
Obesity may cause respiratory illnesses.
The two major respiratory complications of obesity are asthma and obstructive sleep apnea. Being overweight impairs the respiratory function of the body. The accumulation of fats reduces the flexibility of the chest wall and narrows the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe easily.
Obesity may cause Liver and Gallbladder issues.
Obesity is associated with gallbladder issues, including gallstones and an enlarged gallbladder. Being overweight or obese is regarded as the main risk factors for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Obesity may affect Mental health.
The excess body fat increases the inflammatory markers leading to a higher risk of developing depression. Obesity is associated with mental health disorders like anxiety, poor self-esteem, and increased stress.
The Bottom Line
Obesity affects almost all the aspects of an individual’s health. However, it is not a permanent condition, it can be controlled by losing weight. To lose weight, one needs to make lifestyle changes like having a good diet, exercising, limiting the intake of fats and sugars, eating more legumes, whole grains, and unprocessed foods, and avoiding packaged food items. Food products containing excess salts or added sugar must be avoided. Regular exercise is the key to weight management.
*Data Source: Obesity and overweight (who.int)