Dangers of Obesity: Causes, Effects, Signs and Symptoms

Obesity occurs when your body starts accumulating fats in ways in which it begins affecting your health, negatively. By negatively we mean serious problems and diseases like type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure among others.

Generally, you would define yourself as obese if your body mass index (bmi) – that is weight in kg per square of height in metres — exceeds 30. Overweight is when your bmi falls in the range 25 to 30. You’d be interested in knowing that these two groups, overweight and obese, are believed to account for 30% of the population globally – that’s nearly 2 billion people. And given the current global trend, the fat problem if it were to continue will have affected nearly half of the world’s adults by 2030.

There’s more. According a recent report by McKinsey, obesity alone is costing the global economy $2 trillion annually, making it nearly as damaging as armed conflict or smoking ($2.1 trillion each).

What leads to Obesity

A most spread out cause for obesity is excessive food intake and less energy expenditure. It’s the easy availability that makes us want to reach out for food that’s easy to get, which impacts the physical activity. Even if the food were available say at a walk and pick distance, the distance would usually be cut short with the use of mechanized transportation.

Besides overeating and not exercising, a sedentary lifestyle is likely to lead to obesity in people. Work has become less physically exerting and more automated, and modern homes are equipped with all effort reducing gadgets and appliances. Speaking of home gadgets, how can we miss talking about television in context with obesity. In children and adults both, watching endless hours of television is linked to risks involving obesity. Many reports conclusively show that rate of obesity for child increases exponentially with the amount of time they dedicate to watching television.

There are also other causes of obesity, but are not as prevalent as what we discussed above. These are genetics, environmental factors, medical reasons, and psychiatric illness. Yet some other possible contributors include: insufficient sleep, increased use of medicines that lead to weight gain, decrease in the rate of smoking (smoking kills appetite), and pregnancy at a later age than desired.

Obesity, overweight problems/effects

If you are obese, not only looking overweight is a problem (it is known to lead to depression, and is accounted for a type of discrimination that exceeds race and gender), it also results in fatal diseases. The leading ones:

  1. Coronary heart disease: Obesity leads to increased bmi which leads to narrowing of coronary arteries through plaque deposition. These arteries supply oxygen rich blood to the heart, and once it starts narrowing (or worse cases blocking) the blood flow to the heart is reduced. The result is angina, heart attack or even heart failure.
  2. Stroke: When plaque gets formed, it may result in blood clots resulting from plaque rupturing. If such a clot forms close to the brain, it may result in a stroke. Chances of strokes increase with increase in bmi.
  3. High blood pressure: As again like the above two, high blood pressure is linearly proportional to obesity. High blood pressure is detrimental to your body in many ways.
  4. Type-2 diabetes: Diabetes as we all know is the disease in which the body is unable to regulate sugar level in the blood; the sugar level becomes high. In type-2 diabetes, the body cells are unable to convert sugar into usable energy. In contrast, a normal body cell is able to perform this conversion by the use of insulin, a hormone produced by the body. A body affected by type-2 diabetes first produces a lot of insulin on seeing an increased blood sugar level, but over time however, the rate of insulin production reduces disabling the ability of a cell to convert the sugar into proper energy. Most people who are affected by this disease are overweight.
  5. Cancer: Being overweight increases your chances of getting affected by cancers of the breast, colon, endometrial areas, and gallbladder.

Obesity also is a problem in illnesses like sleep apnea, reproductive problems, gallstones, abnormal body fats, obesity hypoventilation syndrome among others.

Signs and symptoms of obesity

  1. Clothes feel tighter, and require larger size
  2. Weight gain around waist area – increased weight circumference
  3. Higher than normal body mass index
  4. Breathing disorders
  5. High cholesterol levels
  6. Symptoms from diseases discussed in the previous section

Obesity is not a rarity. But that doesn’t quite mean it can’t be controlled. A life-long healthy lifestyle is the key in combating this, which in essence means adopting a healthy, balanced diet plan for weight loss, and opting for prescription weight loss pills if required for achieving proper weight loss through involvement in regular physical activities.

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