Obesity and Heart Disease
Heart disease is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States. Every year, about 600,000 Americans die from heart disease. That is one death every minute related to heart disease. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing heart disease. Losing weight is one of the more effective ways of reducing that risk.
Risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease:
- Obesity and excessive weight
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Poor nutrition
- Excessive alcohol intake
The above risk factors can contribute to heart disease. If you are obese or overweight, your chances for developing one of these risk factors is higher than a person of healthy weight, increasing your chances of developing a serious cardiovascular disorder.
Cardiovascular disorders associated with obesity include:
- Coronary artery disease. This is a result of plaque buildup in your coronary arteries. This buildup causes the arteries to become narrowed, restricting blood flow to the heart. Those who are obese tend to have higher cholesterol levels, leading to plaque buildup.
- Arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythms. Electrical conduction issues within the heart occur more frequently when the heart is damaged by coronary artery disease or other cardiac disorder.
- Heart failure. This is when the heart is severely weakened due to heart attack, coronary artery disease or other conditions that overwork the heart.
- Heart attack. This can occur when the heart muscles are starved of oxygen due to narrowed or hardened artery walls or blood clots.
- Vascular disease. Vascular diseases like peripheral artery disease or aneurysms can occur due to high blood pressure and the hardening of the arteries outside of the heart.
Preventing and Treating Heart Disease
If you are struggling with obesity or any obesity-related disorders, the most effective way to prevent heart disease is by losing weight and making long-term lifestyle changes. This includes modifying your diet, exercise behaviors and reducing avoidable risk factors like smoking. Losing weight may be difficult if obesity is something you have struggled with long-term. There are many effective options to aid in weight loss such as medical weight loss that provides meal replacement, education and in some cases, medication. Weight loss not only lowers your chances of developing heart disease, but can also help reduce the effects of any existing conditions.
Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a medical condition that prevents the body from properly processing blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is highly associated with excess weight and afflicts many obese people, putting them at risk of disabling symptoms and complications.
Because type 2 diabetes and its precursors are closely tied to obesity, weight loss is often all that is needed to improve or resolve them. Even a moderate amount of weight loss can help many people reduce diabetes medications and even put the disease into remission.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that occurs when the airway is temporarily obstructed during sleep, causing disruptions in breathing. These interruptions can last a few seconds at a time or more than a minute, and may occur between 5-30 times over the course of an hour. Breathing often resumes with loud snoring choking or gasping sound, which can further interrupt sleep.
Obesity and Joint Pain
Obesity is among the leading causes of immobility in adults. An accumulation of excess body weight increases pressure on the joints, especially the hips, knees and ankles. Over time, excess weight can cause cartilage in these joints to wear down, and this may lead to severe pain and difficulty walking.
Arthritis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation in the joints. It can develop at any joint in the body, including the ankles and knees, the hips, the wrists or elbows. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis.
In small quantities, fat is useful to our health. Unfortunately, we often eat more fat than necessary for benefits like nutrient absorption and joint protection. Our bodies do what they can to push excess fat into storage, leading to weight gain, but often the excess fat will also build-up in the blood stream.
This may lead to unhealthy blood levels of fats or lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides . When this occurs, the condition is known as hyperlipidemia.
Understanding Metabolic Syndrome
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for a series of health problems. One common obesity-related condition is metabolic syndrome.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for a collection of medical conditions that commonly develop in association with obesity. There are five primary risk factors considered in metabolic syndrome. If at least three of them occur together, the condition is diagnosed.
Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart beats. If this pressure remains consistently high, this can cause a number of health issues. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 1 in 3 adults in the US have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
People who have hypertension often experience few or no symptoms, but over time, their bodies may still suffer harmful effects, including heart, blood vessel and kidney damage.
Understanding Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a chronic condition resulting in the contents of the stomach flowing back up and irritating the esophagus. Normally, a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) would prevent anything from returning up through the esophagus, but due to factors such as obesity, pregnancy or smoking, the LES may become weakened and unable to properly block the stomach’s content.ay.
Joint Pain and Obesity
Obesity and excessive weight can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your body. Carrying extra weight makes it more difficult to move around and accelerates the wear on your joints and your spine. Extra weight makes it difficult to perform simple tasks that rely on your joints for movement such as squatting, running or climbing stairs. It can also lead to joint disorders such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.