9 Terrifying Ways Obesity Can Kill You
Obesity seems harmless but the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean your body is healthy. Why is obesity so dangerous? Having excess weight always carries risks of serious conditions and can affect most parts and systems of your body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30.0 or more. About 42.4 percent of Americans had obesity in 2017 to 2018.
Obesity can be caused by many factors:
Lack of sleep. Poor sleep can provoke hormone imbalance leading to an increased feeling of hunger and cravings for high-calorie foods.
Unhealthy diet. An unhealthy diet rich in fast carbs and trans fats can cause metabolic syndrome that results in obesity.
Genetics. Some people are predisposed to weight gain due to some genes that affect how the body converts food into energy and how fat is stored.
Age. The body of an older person loses muscle mass gradually and slows down metabolism which increases the risk of excess weight.
Pregnancy. Pregnant women are more prone to gain excess weight which might be difficult to lose even after pregnancy.
Certain health conditions. These include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing syndrome, and hypothyroidism.
It’s important to treat obesity in time to prevent health consequences. In most cases, obese people should change their lifestyle, diet, give up bad habits, and improve sleep. But if your obesity is severe your doctor might recommend surgical treatments that will help your treat obesity.
Why is it so important to treat obesity? Here are nine scary things your obesity can do to your body:
Stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood vessel in the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. Stroke can cause significant brain damage that can lead to various disabilities like poor muscle tone, speech problems, and memory loss. Obesity increases your risk of stroke by 64 percent.
Many obese people suffer from depression. Obesity is linked to a major depressive disorder. Currently, many advocacy groups like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) are working to fight discrimination based on body size. These organizations provide opportunities to get involved in eliminating this discrimination. If you have obesity and are experiencing depression, talk with your doctor about a referral to a mental health counselor.
3. Liver disease
People with obesity are prone to liver disease also called fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. This condition occurs when excess fat accumulates in the liver which can lead to serious damage to the organ and provoke cirrhosis.
Fatty liver disease is typically symptomless but it can eventually result in liver failure. The only way to reverse or manage the fatty liver disease is to lose excess weight, get regular exercise, and avoid alcohol consumption.
4. Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes occurs when your body can’t use insulin to process sugar and fat for use. This results in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can provoke organ problems since your body can’t process sugars and fats as it should be.
Losing weight and changing diet can help your body process sugars and fats more efficiently and even reverse insulin resistance.
5. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a disease in which you momentarily stop breathing while sleeping. The condition can be dangerous because it can result in heart attack, stroke, and asthma. Obesity increases the risk of breathing issues during sleeping due to excess fat storage around the neck.
6. Pregnancy complications
Pregnant obese women are at high risk of insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. Having these issues can increase the risk of various pregnancy complications such as:
defects of the brain and spinal cord
If you have excess weight or obesity and want to get pregnant, it’s better to start losing weight right now to prevent aforementioned health risks. Talk to your healthcare provider about physical activity and dietary changes that are safe during pregnancy.
7. Gallbladder disease
Gallbladder disease includes gallstones, gallbladder infection, cancer, and gallstone pancreatitis. Obesity can contribute to gallstones - crystallized masses of bile found in the gallbladder that can provoke severe inflammation and pain. Untreated gallbladder disease leads to severe infection.
Cancer and pancreatitis are considered the most dangerous complications of untreated gallbladder disease. Gallbladder cancer is hard to recognize since tumors often look like gallstones. Gallstone pancreatitis is when infection spreads to the pancreas resulting in inflammation. If not treated timely, it can cause death.
8. Heart disease
Heart disease is one of the most common complications of obesity. Heart disease includes the following conditions:
Coronary artery disease
Congenital heart disease
Heart disease is dangerous but it’s preventable. Maintaining a healthy weight is a key part of prevention. Things like regular exercise and healthy diet are essential too.
Cancer is probably the most dangerous complication of obesity. Carrying extra weight raises your risk of breast, colon, gallbladder, pancreatic, kidney, prostate cancer, cervical, and ovarian cancers.
The Bottom Line
Obesity is more than having excess weight. It’s killing your body slowly and can result in premature death. If you’re obese, you still can fix it and reduce your risk for these health complications. Your doctor can recommend the best weight-loss options for you.