We all know the social effects of being overweight. I spent my childhood being teased in school and by family members for being larger than other girls. I felt self-conscious as an adult, afraid to go out with friends, or shop for clothes. I’ve struggled with the mental effects of being overweight, feeling depressed and hopeless and out of control. But the thing I find that most people don’t always realize are just how much of a physical detriment obesity has on our bodies. We know the general stuff, that it’s “not healthy,” but what exactly does that mean? So, to help clear up some of these questions, I’ve made a short list of just the top side effects of obesity.
1. High cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat like substance made in the liver and found in animal byproducts such as dairy, eggs and meat. Our body needs cholesterol to function, but having too much cholesterol increases our risk for heart disease. Many factors contribute to the rise of cholesterol in our systems. Some are uncontrollable, like age, gender and family history. The other contributing factors such as weight, diet and exercise, are all things that we can try to improve before the problem arises.
2. High blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force placed on your arteries as blood travels through it. Having too much pressure in your arteries, just like having too much air in a tire, put’s strain on them and increases our risk for heart disease and strokes. Risk factors for high blood pressure are family history, smoking, and obesity.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. This causes abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, which leads to increase glucose levels in the blood. There is no cure and once diagnosed with the disease it requires life long treatment and care. The top risk factors for the disease are obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and a poor diet consisting of processed food, poor quality fats, and very little fiber.
4. Low energy/lack of motivation
Being overweight makes our bodies work harder to do every day activities, leading to a feeling of fatigue.
5. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder in which a persons breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep, depriving the brain of oxygen. Sleep apnea can effect anyone at any age, but the most common risk factors are being male, overweight, and over 40.
Thirteen different cancer are associated with being overweight, and the sugars we eat: 1. Menigioma (Cancer of the tissue covering our brain and spinal cord) 2. Thyroid 3. Adenocarcinoma of the Esophagus 4. Breast 5. Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the blood cells) 6. Liver Cancer 7. Gallbladder 8. Kidney 9. Upper Stomach 10. Pancreas 11. Endometrium (cancer in the tissue lining the uterus 12. Colon and Rectum 13. Ovaries
7. Blood sugar Drops
When our bodies are under strain and our diet’s are lacking important nutrients, blood sugar can vary dramatically throughout the day causing periods of exhaustion, dizziness, shakiness.
Carrying extra weight over-works our bodies, and the extra fat cells often negatively effect our ability to control our own body temperature, leading to excessive sweating.
9. Out of breath
Just as being over-weight can cause sweats and drops in our blood sugar, it also causes us to feel out of breath much quicker than other people. This is due to the extra work our bodies go through when we have extra fat.
Gout is a common and painful for of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid in the body. Many of the common side-effects of obesity, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea and diabetes can all increase your risk of gout.11. Gallbladder diseaseGallbladder disease is a general term for a variety of disorders that can effect the gallbladder. The most common of which is inflammation of the walls of the gallbladder know as cholecystitis, often caused by gall stones. The most common risk factors are obesity and diabetes.
12. Heart disease
Heart disease is a general term for a variety of conditions affecting the cardiovascular system. These include heart attack, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart disease. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Prevention for the disease includes quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering cholesterol, and controlling high blood pressure.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the aging of joints which can be quickened by injury and obesity. Osteoarthritis doesn’t go away, but symptoms can be improved with weight loss and special exercises.
14. Infertility for women
Obesity causes hormonal imbalances in the body. When these natural levels of hormones change, it decreases your chances of conception. These hormonal changes can also lead to insulin resistance and can create abnormal menstrual cycles and anovulation where your body does not produce eggs properly. All of these things can also cause miscarriages.
Inflamation is a broad term that is associated with obesity in many ways. Whether that’s inflammation in joints that increases the risk of arthritis, or inflammation in our organs that can lead to abnormal cell development and cancer. It can come from over-tasking our bodies by carrying the extra weight, or by eating things that aren’t healthy. Inflammation is often what is causing pain and discomfort in our bodies. Improving our diet and losing weight, are just a few ways to help inflammation recede.
This list of 15 factors are just some of the side-effects of being overweight. The risk for most of these also increase with age, so while you may feel fine now, it’s important to understand the long term effects obesity can have on your body.