When our body weight is above an average threshold, it is termed obesity. It is becoming increasingly common nowadays due to our busy and inactive lifestyle.
The causes of obesity are complex and may include biological, genetic, behavioral, and cultural factors. Certain medical conditions, too, such as hypothyroidism, can cause weight gain. Many obese or overweight people suffer from eating disorders.
Obesity is a health condition that can impact our overall well-being in many ways:
Many obese and morbidly obese people may suffer from eating disorders.
People with severe obesity are more likely to have diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and certain cancers.
Some other effects of obesity can be an increased risk of certain cancers, including breast, uterine, pancreatic, esophageal, colorectal, and ovarian cancer.
Obesity is largely caused due to lifestyle choices we make, some of these may include:
Unhealthy diet. A diet high in calories, many processed foods, laden with high-calorie beverages, lack of fruits and vegetables, and oversized portions contribute to gaining unwanted weight.
Liquid calories. Calories from alcohol or other high-calorie beverages, such as sugary soft drinks, can contribute to weight gain.
Inactivity. Sitting continuously for long hours can reduce the metabolic rate and lead to calorie accumulation. Looking at phone, computer, and tablet screens most of the time without physical activity can cause weight gain.
How does obesity affect metabolism?
Our metabolism is converting calories into energy that our body requires to perform other functions. When our body has more calories than it requires, it converts the extra calories into lipids and stores them in our adipose tissue.
When there are no more tissues to store lipids, the fat cells become enlarged. Enlarged fat cells start secreting hormones and other chemicals that produce an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation has many adverse health effects.
One way that obesity affects our metabolism is by contributing to insulin resistance. This means our body can no longer use insulin efficiently.
Metabolic syndrome is a common factor in obesity and contributes to many other diseases that impact our health. Here are ten reasons why we must control our weight and maintain a healthy body weight:
Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obesity significantly raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Inflammation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar are all risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, and may cause congestive heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Fatty liver: Excess fats circulating in our blood reach the liver, which filters blood. When our liver begins to store excess fat, it can cause chronic liver inflammation (hepatitis) and long-term liver damage.
Kidney disease: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver disease are the most common contributors to chronic kidney disease.
Gallstones: Higher blood cholesterol levels can cause cholesterol to accumulate in our gallbladder, leading to cholesterol gallstones and potential gallbladder diseases.
Incontinence: A large, heavy abdomen may cause the valve on the urinary bladder to weaken, leading to urinary stress incontinence or the leakage of urine with sneezing, coughing, or laughing.
Infertility: Obese women may experience infertility — an inability or diminished ability to conceive.
Menstrual Irregularities: Morbidly obese women may experience disruptions of menstrual cycles, abnormal flow, and increased pain.
Osteoarthritis: The weight placed on joints, particularly knees and hips, results in rapid wear and tear of joints and pain caused by inflammation, called osteoarthritis. Excess weight strains bones and muscles of the back, which can cause disc problems and decreased mobility.
Sleep Apnea and Respiratory Problems: Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can cause intermittent air passage obstruction, called sleep apnea. Because the obstruction is more severe when sleeping on our backs, we may wake up frequently to reposition ourselves.
Depression: Depression is very common after repeated failure to lose weight with multiple dieting and disapproval from family and friends. Obesity may make an individual feel low about themselves.
The bottom line
With multiple health complications, obesity is best kept away. It is essential to maintain a healthy weight rather than suffer from health complications later. Countless weight-loss methods are available, but many are ineffective and short-term, particularly for those who are morbidly obese.
Adopting a healthy and active lifestyle and having a suitable diet can help lose and maintain weight. One can consult a nutritionist who can customize a diet to meet individual needs. Additionally, avoiding alcohol, managing stress, and having sufficient sleep can help control weight.