Obesity – More Than a Cosmetic Consideration

Men, women and even children may be at risk of a number of chronic diseases due to being grossly overweight.
Men, women and children who suffer from obesity often deal with prejudicial treatment from those around them.

Whether in the general public, work place or school grounds, those suffering from overweight problems often find a stigma attached to their physical presentation. However, obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration; it is a dire problem that plays significantly in harming one’s health. Our country suffers from roughly 112,000 deaths per year that are related to obesity. Most of these deaths were patients with a BMI over 30. For patients dealing with a BMI over 40, life expectancy is significantly reduced.

Men, women and even children may be at risk of a number of chronic diseases due to being grossly overweight. While obesity can have a major impact on the self-image and feelings of self-worth of an individual; their health can be at direct risk. Included in those diseases that can be a direct result of obesity or extreme overweight at the following:

Many obese patients suffer from insulin resistance. Insulin acts to transport blood glucose (sugar) into the body’s cells of muscle and fat for use as energy. By transporting glucose into the cells of the body’s muscle and fat, insulin keeps the body’s blood glucose levels in the normal range. Insulin resistance (IR) is a diminished capacity for the body’s insulin to transport an over-abundance of glucose into cells. As fat cells are more insulin resistant than muscle cells; the by-product of insulin resistance can thereby result in the problem of accumulated fat and obesity. The pancreas helps manage blood glucose levels by producing more insulin. However, once the pancreas is no longer able to keep up with producing high enough levels of insulin to effectively process the glucose levels in the blood; the body’s blood glucose levels begin to raise – a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. 

The risk of Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes increases with the degree and duration of a patient’s obesity. Even children are now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes problems – a disease that in the past has been considered an adult problem. Type 2 diabetes is associated with central obesity, wherein a patient carries excess fat around his or her waist. This body type has the form of an apple.

High blood pressure is common among obese adult men and women. A recent study in Norway found that weight gain tended to increase blood pressure in women more than in men. The risk of developing high blood pressure was also found to be higher in obese people who were apple shaped (central obesity) than in people who were pear shape (fat distributed mainly in the hips and thighs). 

Obesity is typically accompanied with a high cholesterol condition and places patients at risk for strokes or heart attacks. The risk of developing coronary artery disease increased three to four times in women with a BMI greater than 29. A Finnish research study found that for every 2.2 pounds of body weight, the risk of death from coronary artery disease increased by one percent. For patients who have already had a heart attack, obesity indicated the increased likelihood of a second heart attack.

Additional medical problems that can be an extension of obesity include cancer – obesity has been linked to cancer of the colon, cancer of the rectum, prostate cancer in men, cancer of the gallbladder and uterus in women. Obesity may be a factor in breast cancer. Fat tissue is important in the production of estrogen; and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer. Gallstones, gout and gouty arthritis can also be linked to obesity, along with osteoarthritis of the knees, hips and lower back due pressure from excessive weight.


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