Fat unfit - Negative effects of obesity

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

When you have those extra pounds on you, you are at a risk of developing a wide spectrum of diseases from head to toe, some of them being potentially life-threatening.

Weight and Sleep: Being overweight can cause sleep apnea. This is a condition where there are short spells where one does not breathe and has to wake up abruptly. Snoring is also a commonly encountered symptom in sleep apnea. Increased daytime sleepiness is often the first alarming signal. Sleep apnea significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke!

Weight and Depression: Gaining weight and being depressed have a cause-effect relationship. Obesity can be a cause of depression. The most common feel good factor for depressed people is food. So we end up indulging ourselves and becoming fatter in the process. And then we end up becoming depressed over the fact that we are obese. Depressed people also have increased levels of the cortisone hormone. This hormone helps the fat cells to get settled at various locations around the body. Obesity has already been proved to be a significant cause for diabetes type II and several heart diseases. What is more worrying is the fact that depression too has a significant link to the development of type II diabetes.

Studies show that losing just 7% of the body weight reduces the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60% in obese people.

Weight and the Heart: Being obese means that many more fat cells floating around in your blood. These cells eventually settle down in the inside of your arteries and clog them. So your heart tissue receives less blood and you end up having a heart attack!

Weight and Blood Pressure: Obesity results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the silent killer that targets every organ in your body from the brain to the kidney. So you could end up with a stroke, vision problems or kidney failure!

Weight and Knees: The knees are the weight bearers of the body. Every time you put your foot down on the ground when you take a step to walk, you are transferring the entire body weight onto the knee. So you can only imagine the duress the obese person’s knee must be under! The knees are often the first to give way in fat people with diseases like arthritis showing up.

Weight and the Female Reproductive System: Being obese is a disease. It can cause or be the result of hormonal imbalance in the body. This hormonal imbalance is responsible for menstrual irregularities like amenorrhea i.e. no menses, to polymenorrhoea i.e. frequent or too soon menses, to menorrhagia i.e. heavy bleeding during menses and several other problems. Infertility, too, is a common problem faced by obese females.

Weight and Cancer: Next to smoking, obesity is the leading cause of cancer related deaths. Obese women are at a high risk of developing uterine, cervical, and endometrial or breast cancer. Men are prone to develop prostate cancer and cancers of the stomach. The oesophagus, colon and rectum, pancreas and kidneys are also the most commonly affected organs.

Weight and the Gastrointestinal System: Obesity is the reason for several GI diseases like peptic ulcers, acidity, gall-stones, and liver problems including cancer, oesophageal varices, oesophageal cancer, colon and rectum cancer, chronic piles.

Weight and the Brain: Stroke is very commonly seen in obese people. With the increased risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, the brain stands at a risk of developing diabetic neuropathy and dementia too.

Weight and the Kidney: With obesity being linked with diabetes and high blood pressure, the kidney is the first end organ to give way. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of diabetes related kidney problems. Kidney cancer is also being seen increasingly in obese people.

Weight and Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of several conditions that occur together predisposing one to develop several heart diseases and diabetes. One is said to be suffering from metabolic syndrome if there are at least 3 of the following 5 conditions:

  1. A big waist size.
  2. High levels of LDL and triglycerides, the bad cholesterol.
  3. Low levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.
  4. High blood pressure, a reading more than 130/90 mm of Hg.
  5. High blood sugar- A fasting level of more than 100mg/dl.

Weight and Lifespan: With obesity being associated with so many diseases, no wonder that it ends up cutting short the lifespan.

Losing excess weight can not only make one feel better physically and psychologically, but also can help in living a longer healthier life.

Our weight weighs a lot when it comes to our health. Right weight for height is extremely essential to keep a multitude of diseases at bay!