Research has shown that people who’re are obese are far likelier to suffer from diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc. And simply losing weight can prevent the risk of getting these diseases. Jessica Bartfield, MD, bariatrician at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care, said that now it is known that excess adipose (fat) tissue is active rather than inert. She said that it alters hormones, releases cytokines and inflammatory factors, all of which cause metabolic derangements.
She asserted that for the obese patient, even if the excess weight is not causing any current medical problems, that patient faces a higher risk of multiple other diseases. ‘Although lifestyle and behaviours highly influence a person’s weight, research continues to find multiple other factors including genetics, environment, hormonal balances and sleep patterns which underscore the complexity of this disease,’ Bartfield said. ‘Obesity often acts as the common denominator for all other medical conditions a patient may suffer, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis or sleep apnoea,’ she added.
Diseases the obese need to watch out for:
Diabetes is a metabolic disease which is characterised by high blood sugar levels. It can be caused either due to the lack of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or because the body’s cells fail to respond to the insulin produced (type 2 diabetes). Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are hunger, frequent urination and increased thirst. While type 1 diabetes is usually genetic, type 2 diabetes is caused more by lifestyle factors. It is one of the common ‘lifestyle diseases’ which is plaguing people in the developed countries and often has a causal link to heart diseases, hypertension and obesity.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.
Heart disease or cardiovascular disease refers to a group of diseases that involve the heart and/ or blood vessels. Some of the more common ones are coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. While susceptibility to heart diseases increases with age, gender, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, stress there are many things we can do to improve our cardiovascular health. A low fat, high fibre diet with fruits and veggies, quitting smoking and giving up alcohol coupled with increased physical activity and less stress can go a long way in improving cardiovascular health.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common lifestyle diseases. Blood flows through our arteries with pressure. This pressure is determined by the pumping of the heart as well as resistance to the flow of blood by the arteries. Due to genetics, high cholesterol or other reasons, the wall of the blood vessels get thickened leading to increased resistance for the blood to flow. This causes the blood pressure to go up causing hypertension. Elevated blood pressure is linked to a variety of diseases – coronary artery diseases, heart diseases, stroke, kidney diseases, vision loss and erectile dysfunction. High BP can be curtailed by exercising more, eating right, with antihypertensives and by keeping stress at bay.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.
Arthritis is a joint disorder that causes the inflammation of one or more joints. The pain is caused due to the inflammation around the joints. Some of the types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc. Osteoarthritis is the most common form – caused due to overuse or injury – and can affect all joints. The other forms can either be genetic, caused due to skin conditions (psoriatic), immune disorder (rheumatoid) or by deposition of uric acid (gout). Almost 50 million people around the world are affected by one form or another.
Sleep apnoea (apnea in American English) is a sleep disorder characterised by abnormal breathing. They can be classified as obstructive, central or mixed sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is caused by a blockage in the airway and is usually characterised by snoring. Various studies have linked OSA to heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, depression and obesity. On the other hand central sleep apnoea is usually characterised by low breathing which can indicate less blood flow. This leads to a drop in blood oxygen which causes seizures, angina, heart attacks and even death.
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