Many health risks associated with being overweight are common among the young and old. Such health risks include high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and many others.
Overweight is the weight above what’s considered healthy often measured using body mass index (BMI). In summary, it is having more body fat than is optimally healthy.
Some people tend to be normal while overweight, but as time goes on, they develop life-threatening risks.
The good news is that overweight is curable and all the related health risks can be overcome by losing weight.
There is a difference between being overweight and obese which is discussed in detail in this article; All you need to know about overweight vs obesity
How do I know that I am overweight naturally without BMI?
Naturally without the BMI, you can get to know if you are overweight. Your body will give you indicators to alert you that you are exceeding the normal weight.
Here are the indicators you should look for;
A waist circumference that is greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men is a fast-natural indicator that you should watch your weight. Such a waist circumference indicates excessive belly fat which increases one’s risk of getting diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.
Extra weight exerts more pressure on the joints and as you gain more weight, the pressure increases.
Experiencing achy knees, hips or chronic back pain may be an indicator of overweight.
If you breathe heavily and feel fatigued after doing small tasks or simple exercises like a walk to the mailbox and back, it can be an indicator of being overweight. Experiencing difficulty in breathing after a simple workout also shows that you are overweight.
If you are told that you are snoring excessively more than normal and you always wake up restless, it can be an indicator of being overweight.
You may be suffering from sleep apnea which is a condition that causes you to have disturbed breathing while sleeping and is caused by being overweight
Frequent heartburns may also be overweight indicators.
Excess weight will many times increase pressure on the abdomen which causes stomach acid to leak. However, tight clothing could also cause heart-burn after pressure on the abdominal area.
What are the health risks of being overweight?
Being overweight doesn’t mean that you will develop the following health problems. But being overweight increases the chances of developing one or more of the health problems discussed below.
1. Type 2 diabetes.
Being overweight exposes you to a great risk of developing type 2 diabetes especially if you have excess weight around your belly.
Excess belly fat is associated with insulin resistance. This is when your body makes insulin but your cells aren’t capable of getting glucose out of your blood. Type 2 diabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal.
Being overweight is accounted for 80-85% of the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight are 80 times more likely of getting type 2 diabetes than people with a BMI of less than 22.
2. Heart disease.
Heart disease is more common in people who are overweight and obese. It is a set of several heart problems that affect the heart.
If you suffer from heart disease you are likely to experience a heart attack, heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina which is chest pain and abnormal heart rhythm.
Overweight people tend to have high blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides all of which contribute to heart disease.
Fatty deposits tend to accumulate in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Failure of the heart to receive enough blood causes heart failure.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off or isn’t enough. This happens when blood vessels that lead blood to the brain are blocked by blood clots or fat deposits.
Being overweight can make blood vessels narrow and hardened yet narrow or clogged vessels may not be able to get enough blood to the cells in your organs and tissues.
Strokes can cause damage to the brain tissue and result in a range of disabilities like speech and language impairment, weakened body parts, and changes to thinking and reasoning skills.
4. Pregnancy complications.
Being overweight while pregnant brings no good news to the baby and mother. More complications arise during this period than when not pregnant.
Overweight women tend to develop numerous problems during pregnancy and delivery. They are more likely to develop insulin resistance, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and lots of more diseases.
These increase the risk of gestational diabetes, Preeclampsia, and blood clots which affect the health of the mother.
In worst cases, the need for cesarean delivery (C-section), heavier bleeding than normal after delivery, premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth and defects of the brain and spinal cord can also occur.
5. Increased risk of certain cancers.
Various situations that are caused by being overweight can spark off cancer growth. For instance, fat cells may release hormones that can affect cell growth which may lead to cancer.
There is an increased risk of getting certain cancers such as breast, colon, gallbladder, pancreatic, kidney and prostate cancer if you are overweight.
Chances of developing cancers of the uterus and cervix are also increased with being overweight.
In a study conducted in 2012, it was estimated that 28,000 new cancer cases in men and 72,000 in women were all associated with overweight and obesity.
6. Gallbladder disease.
Gallstones occur when bile builds up and hardens in the gallbladder. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and when it doesn’t move through, that’s when gallstones are formed.
When bile doesn’t move through the gallbladder as it is meant to, it builds up and hardens forming gallstones.
Having high levels of cholesterol in your bile (which is a type of digestive fluid) is one of the most common causes of gall stones.
People who are overweight tend to have more cholesterol in bile which increases the risk of gallstones. Gallstones are very painful and most times, they require surgery.
7. High blood pressure.
Commonly, people who are overweight tend to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against the artery wall is too high.
High blood pressure in overweight people occurs because extra body fat requires more oxygen and nutrients.
The demand for oxygen makes the heart work extra hard to be able to pump blood all around the body and meet the demand.The increase in the amount of blood circulation puts extra pressure on the walls of the arteries.
With time, high blood pressure causes damage to the heart and arteries. High blood pressure leads to other conditions and complications like heart disease and stroke.
8. Fatty Liver Disease
When excess fat builds in the liver, overweight people can develop a liver disease known as fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
The buildup of fat in the liver makes a scar tissue a condition known as cirrhosis.
Usually, the fatty liver disease has no symptoms but can lead to liver failure.
Causes of liver disease are high blood sugar, insulin resistance, high levels of triglycerides all of which are associated with being overweight.
9. Sleep apnea.
This is a disorder in which someone monetarily stops breathing during sleep.
Overweight people are at a higher risk of having sleep apnea. This is due to more fat that is stored around the neck which may shrink the airway during sleep. A smaller airway narrowed by fat leads to snoring and difficulty in breathing during sleep.
When this happens, you will not get peaceful sleep your body needs causing tiredness which leads to sleep-related disorders and complications.
Sleep apnea may not be fatal but its related complications like lack of proper sleep will cause complications and other disorders.
Kidney disease is more likely to develop in people who are overweight.
The role of the kidneys is to filter blood and help to control blood pressure. But when fat builds up and clogs the blood vessels, kidneys will fail to do their purpose.
With kidney failure, dangerous waste builds up in the body. Kidney disease is associated with diabetes and high blood pressure all of which are linked to being overweight.
What are the causes of overweight?
It is estimated that 39% of men and 40% of women in the world’s population are overweight. There are numerous causes of overweight and they include;
Being overweight has a strong genetic connection. Children of overweight parents are more likely to become overweight than those from lean parents.
Sedentary people tend to burn fewer calories than those who are active. People who hate workouts are more likely to be overweight.
Overeating leads to an accelerated weight gain especially if the diet is high in fat.
Some medications are associated with weight gain. They include; antidepressants, anticonvulsants, valproate and many others that can make you overweight.
Some diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, cushings’s syndrome and other diseases contribute to weight gain and can lead to overweight.
Women tend to gain more weight compared to men. Furthermore, during pregnancy, menopause, and cases like using oral contraceptives makes women gain weight. Therefore, women in this situation gain weight and are more likely to become overweight.
How do you lower the risks?
Losing even as little as 5% of your body weight can lower the risk of getting several overweight related health risks. Weight loss is the general remedy of getting free of overweight related health risks.
A combination of a weight loss diet and exercise can help you lose weight. A controlled eating and proper diet will help you naturally lose weight.
1. Proper diet.
The foods you eat should not get complicated. Aim at changing slowly to healthy foods not a sudden change of lifestyle.
Eat low fat, high fiber foods and try to avoid processed and junk food.
Avoid unnecessary cravings and try to control how frequently you eat food. Processed and unhealthy foods that cause weight gain should not be bought in order avoid unnecessary cravings.
Choose to fill your plate with vegetables, replace unrefined grains like white bread with whole grains which are full of healthy nutrients and fiber. Fiber plays an important role in hunger management making you avoid unnecessary cravings.
Aim to eat lean proteins and cut out fatty protein sources. Sugary drinks like sodas should also be avoided all in efforts of having a controlled diet that will aid weight loss.
Learn more on the best high proteins w that are low in fats for weight loss.
For workouts, aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. Start with simple exercises like brisk walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. With a 30 minutes brisk walking, you can burn between 100-500 calories.
As you get stronger, you can start including strength training workouts like pushups to gain full control of your body.
Incorporate fun and exciting physical activities that will help you lose weight. Outdoor sports and hobbies can be fun ways to lose weight and of which even the children can enjoy and do at their own will.
3. Professional and social support.
Trained healthcare personnel should be sought to help you lose weight. They will also be able to tell you the cause and how to overcome them.
Joining a social club like a support group can help you go through that stage to the next for a better and healthy weight.
4. Limit your family’s screen time.
Sedentary is a major cause of overweight. By limiting the time spent on tv for your family can everybody involve more in physical activities and get good sleep. Since exercise and sleep play an important role in weight loss, it is important to encourage those more than time on screen.
5. Focus on reducing stress.
Stress is known to be a weight gaining factor. Aim at staying happy by involving in activities like socializing, workouts, or joining a support group.
6. Get treatment for diseases.
Health risks and diseases caused by overweight and related conditions should be treated. They can be fatal if they go untreated. As you embark on a weight loss journey, treat existing diseases and conditions or inquire from qualified personnel.
More so, diseases that cause accelerated weight gain should also be treated to control weight gain.
The bottom line;
Weight loss is one of the healthiest ways to fight health risks of being overweight. It is a matter of checking your diet and doing workouts to achieve weight loss easily. Below are some articles to help you achieve healthy weight loss.
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