Obesity is defined as a weight higher than what’s considered healthy for a given height and is calculated using the Body Mass Index (BMI) screening tool: a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of the height (in meters). For medical purposes, a BMI of 25.0 to <30 is overweight, and a BMI of 30.0 is obese.
Obesity is a problem because it can cause a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver disease, and gallbladder disease, which are among the leading causes of premature — but preventable — death.
At Lake Family Medicine & Imaging in Sanford, Florida, general practitioner Dr. Raj Kandavanam treats patients with a wide variety of health conditions, and he sees firsthand how weight can cause serious disease. That’s why he provides medical weight loss programs to help you shed the pounds and improve your overall health status. Here’s what he wants you to know about five serious diseases that are directly related to your weight.
5 Serious Diseases Directly Related to Your Weight
While being overweight or obese directly impacts more than five health conditions, here are the top five you need to be concerned with.
1. Cardiovascular Health
According to the American Academy of Cardiology, high body fat can, directly and indirectly, contribute to heart disease. Directly, it leads to atrial enlargement and ventricular enlargement, as the heart has to pump harder to push blood; and atherosclerosis, fatty deposits on the blood vessel walls that can restrict blood flow and lead to blockages, depriving the body of oxygen. Indirectly, it’s responsible for:
- Sleep apnea
- Thromboembolic disease (clotting in the veins)
- High LDL (bad) or overall cholesterol
- Low HDL (good) cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome (cluster of conditions that together lead to increased risk)
If not treated, cardiovascular disease can lead to congestive heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, among other things.
Diabetes is a disease defined by high levels of glucose in the blood. This can result from defects in insulin production in the pancreas (type 1) or resistance to insulin in the body’s cells (type 2).
No matter what your age, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases as your body weight increases. In fact, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 3-7 times higher in those who are obese than in normal-weight adults, and 20 times higher in those with a BMI greater than 35. In addition to obesity itself, where the body stores its excess fat is important in determining diabetes risk — around the waist is the highest risk. Weight loss can help control or even cure type 2 diabetes.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, today’s increased prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) is directly attributable to the population’s increase in obesity.
Extra weight puts extra pressure on your joints. Being just 10 pounds overweight puts an additional 15-50 pounds of pressure on your knees, making it more likely you’ll develop OA or make the disease worse.
In addition, fat constantly releases inflammation-causing proteins that prompt cartilage and bone to release even more chemicals that lead to joint destruction.
Losing just 10% of your body weight can cut your arthritis pain in half, as well as take a load off your joints. Losing 20-25% of that weight may even slow down OA’s progression.
4. Fatty Liver Disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to a wide spectrum of liver diseases. They range from the most common type, fatty liver (accumulation of fat in the liver), to Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (fat that causes liver inflammation), to advanced cirrhosis (irreversible scarring from chronic inflammation). All stages are believed to be due to insulin resistance, a condition closely associated with obesity. In fact, the higher the BMI, the greater the liver damage observed.
5. Gallbladder Disease
The gallbladder stores and concentrates the bile produced in the liver and releases it in the small intestine in response to food, especially fats. Being overweight or obese affects the gallbladder’s functioning, causing inflammation, gallstones, polyps, and even cancer.
10-40% of all people have some form of gallbladder disease, and about 69% of these people are overweight or obese. The most important way to prevent gallbladder disease is behavioral modifications, including eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical exercise.
If you’re overweight or obese and want to find out more about your risks for serious diseases, or you’re interested in our weight loss program to reduce your BMI, give the office a call at 407-232-7655, or book your consultation online today.