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How Does Obesity Affect Our Health

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We all hear everyday about the rise in overweight and obese Americans. Some believe it has reached epidemic proportions here and around the world. Some 130 million people in the United States are considered either overweight or obese. Some of the causes for obesity are family history, heredity, nutrition and exercise. The sad thing is that most of these are under our control and yet as a society we just continue to gain weight. This problem is not just cosmetic for the people that are affected; it can have some very serious health implications. Below we have tried to explain some of these.

TYPE 2 DIABETES

Being overweight and inactive can trigger the onset of type 2 diabetes in those that are at risk. This is a serious disease with negative health implications. It occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. Over time it can lead to other conditions such as blindness, heart attack and stroke. Over 80% of people with diabetes are either overweight or obese. Gaining as little as 11 to 18 pounds can double the risk of getting diabetes compared to someone how has not put on weight. The good news is that this is treatable with diet, exercise and medication.

HEART DISEASE

This happens when fatty deposits called plaque build up on the inside walls of the arteries.

These arteries supply blood and oxygen to the heart. This condition narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart. The chance of having a heart attack developing heart disease increases as your body mass index (BMI) increases. Obesity can also lead to congestive heart failure which is a condition where the heart can not pump enough blood to meet the body's requirements.

STROKE

As your BMI increases and fatty deposits build up in your arteries you run the chance of forming blood clots. If the clot happens to form close to the brain it limits the blood flow and causes a stroke. Brain cells die when they do not receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)

This affects over 65 million people in the United States. It is often termed the "silent killer" because many people that have it are unaware of their condition. Being overweight or obese is one of the risk factors. Hypertension can cause heart attack, stroke, and damage to eyesight or blindness. If you are overweight you should speak to your doctor and get on a program to measure your blood pressure at regular intervals.

HIGH CHOLESTEROL

We know that weight is one of the risk factors of high cholesterol. This is when abnormally high levels of fats build up in the blood. This can lead to heart attacks.

CERTAIN CANCERS

Certain cancers such as colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder have been associated with being overweight and obesity.

SLEEP APNEA

This is a common disorder for people that are overweight and is characterized by interruption in breathing while asleep. Each pause usually lasts from 10 to 20 seconds and can occur 20 to 30 times an hour. This can cause people to feel very tied during the day, have a loss of concentration and generally affect your performance. It can also lead to depression, sexual dysfunction and high blood pressure.

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