Obesity is more serious than carrying a little bit of excess weight. Obesity is classified as a disease because people who are obese are at serious risk of life-threatening health problems such as heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Obesity can have negative psychological impacts on a persons’ life and lead to depression and withdrawal from society. Obesity is one of the leading causes of mortality, with over 300,000 deaths in the US alone being related to obesity.
Obesity has been found to be linked to numerous illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to cataracts and more serious illnesses affecting the heart and breathing.
Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or over. A BMI of 40 is classified as morbidly obese.
Causes of Obesity
There are many reasons why somebody may become obese. Genetics and hormones can be influential factors, as can mental and physical illness and poor diet.
Weight loss solutions such as dieting and exercising can help, but in cases of severe obesity, surgery is a recommended option alongside healthy eating and physical activity.
Genetics can increase the risk of a person becoming obese. Lower metabolisms, blood glucose problems and hormonal imbalances all contribute to excess weight gain. Children with obese parents are highly likely to become obese themselves, not only due to genetic factors but as children copy the lifestyle and dietary habits of parents.
Lifestyle habits, such as poor diet and lack of exercise contribute are the main cause of obesity.
Depression, low self-esteem and work pressures all contribute to the rise in obesity as people who are mentally troubled are more likely to turn to food as comfort and overeat.
Hormonal problems, such as unbalanced glucose levels or thyroid conditions can cause people to retain excess weight and become obese.
Aging is a factor in obesity as the metabolic rate drops as we age. If the number of calories consumed are not reduced as the metabolism slows, the body stores the extra calories it cannot burn off as fat.
Women are more prone to obesity as the muscle mass found in women is lower than that in men, meaning women can burn fewer calories than men as muscle burns calories faster.
Problems Caused by Obesity
Many health conditions have been linked to obesity. Loosing weight through diet and exercise or aided by weight loss surgery reduces the risk of health complications due to a high BMI.
Heart disease is a common side effect of obesity.
People with excess weight are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than someone of a healthy weight.
In stroke victims, one of the main causes is obesity and excess weight putting strain on the heart and blocking the arteries.
Obesity causes liver problems as obesity damages the body’s ability to control insulin. Insulin resistance is one of the main causes of fatty liver disease.
Gallbladder disease is a common side effect of obesity.
Obesity is one of the leading causes in kidney problems, with the risk of kidney failure being 20 times higher for patients who are obese at the age of 20.
A high BMI is a factor for many types of cancers including kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.
People who are obese are at increased risk of cataracts developing due to problems with blood sugar and insulin levels.
Reducing the effectiveness of treatment
Obesity can not only cause or increase the risk of many health problems but can also have a negative effect on treatment.
Solutions to Obesity
Loosing weight is not easy – it’s estimated that over 45% of people in western countries are on a diet at any one time. There are a range of diets and weight loss plans to choose from and professional guidance from a nutritionist can often help patients who are struggling with excess weight.
For people who are obese, weight loss through dieting and exercise is often difficult. In these cases, patients with a BMI of 30+ may be candidates for weight loss surgery. Gastric Bypass Roux En Y is the recommended method of bariatric surgery for prolonged, maintainable weight loss.
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