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The Negative Effects of Obesity
Obesity is considered epidemic in the United States and it constitutes a serious health problem. It is linked to type II diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and several types of cancer. There are medical conditions and genetic factors which are linked to obesity. Anyone with a serious weight problem should have a thorough physical examination by a medical doctor before embarking on an exercise and weight loss program.
Diabetes Type II
Diabetes type I is also called juvenile diabetes and usually has an onset in childhood or adolescence. In type I diabetes, the body fails to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes is called insulin resistant diabetes. The body produces enough insulin, but the cells do not react properly to the insulin. Insulin resistant diabetes is associated with obesity and often improves significantly with weight loss.
Heart Disease and Hypertension
One of the most serious complications of obesity is cardio-vascular disease. As a rule, obese individuals have higher levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in their blood. This leads to the development of plaque on the wall of arteries which causes narrowing of blood vessels. The heart must pump harder to push blood through the vessels which can lead to enlargement of the heart and hypertension.
Cancers Related to Obesity
It is known that fat cells secret estrogen and it is believed that this contributes to an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer in obese post menopausal women. Other cancers linked to obesity are kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and esophageal cancer. While scientists are not stating that obesity is the cause of these cancers, they are citing it as a contributing factor in a significant number of cancer cases.
Obesity and Psychiatric Disorders
A two year study, conducted by U.S. researchers and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, found a link between obesity and an increase in psychiatric disorders like substance abuse, depression, bi-polar disorder, agoraphobia, anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Researchers did not determine whether obesity triggered the conditions or if the conditions caused obesity. There is a close link between depression and obesity, especially in women.
Rand Researchers Cite Obesity as the Most Serious Health Issue
Two Rand researchers, Roland Sturm and Kenneth Wells, examined the comparative effects of obesity, poverty, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking tobacco and found that obesity created significantly higher health expenditures than any other risk factors. The reason is largely because more people are affected by obesity than by other risks. The rise in obesity is directly linked to the rise in chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Treatment of Obesity
Although obesity may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, most cases of obesity are linked to poor dietary and exercise habits. Many of the health conditions associated with obesity can be alleviated with an improvement of dietary habits and increased physical activity. Before undertaking a diet and exercise program, obese patients should consult their primary care physician for advice and guidance.
There are many definitions for obesity and many Americans don’t consider being 20 pounds overweight as being obese. The fact is that an extra 20 pounds can increase health risks and shorten life spans. Obesity is a killer and the chronic health conditions associated with obesity are increasing healthcare costs for the entire nation.