Both overweight and obesity have serious consequences for our health, especially when excess weight is not treated medically and nutritionally. We find out what they are.
On several occasions we have talked to you about the problems of obesity, a disease that is in fact on the rise every year, and that is of increasing concern to specialists in medicine, nutrition and dietetics, and to health authorities. In this sense, when talking about both being overweight and obesity itself, there is a tendency to place special emphasis on how to lose weight and reduce those extra kilos. But what are the consequences of obesity? What risks and what effects do it has on health?
Before analyzing the main consequences we must be aware of the problem. A problem that, as we have already mentioned in some moments, has increased alarmingly in recent years, to the point of becoming a true epidemic in most developed countries.
Such has been its increase that many countries have begun to put letters on the matter, prohibiting – for example – the sale of pastries and soft drinks in schools, and even France is considering introducing a sugar tax within 2 years ( as Mexico already did at the time). In fact, the World Health Organization itself identified obesity as a true epidemic in a report published in 2014.
Shortly after, in March 2015, the WHO itself estimated that 2.6 million people die from obesity each year, estimating that one billion adults are overweight. And something that was even more alarming: 42 million children under 5 years of age are overweight.
The main effects and consequences of obesity on our health
There are different health problems that are associated both directly and indirectly with obesity and excess weight (overweight). We can call them or define them as consequences of obesity, and the most notable, common and alarming are the following.
These are diseases that include other related disorders and conditions, such as: cerebrovascular accidents, coronary diseases and peripheral vascular disease. They are, in fact, the main diseases responsible for one in three deaths in men and women, and their incidence continues to increase alarmingly.
The reason is clear: obesity predisposes to cardiovascular diseases associated with high blood pressure and to having high levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides. Why? Mainly because obese people have higher levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, as well as low levels of HDL cholesterol.
It is also common for them to have an accumulation of intra-abdominal fat (what is commonly known as “apples”), which in turn is associated with a higher risk of suffering from coronary heart disease.
Type 2 diabetes
It is a type of diabetes that habitually and normally develops in adulthood, and that is directly associated with being overweight. It is also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and is especially linked to overweight and obesity.
It basically consists of a chronic and irreversible disease of the metabolism, in which an excess of glucose is produced in the blood and in the urine, due to a decrease in the secretion of insulin or a deficiency in its action.
It is known that there is a higher risk of developing this type of diabetes when the Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher, especially in people with a family history of diabetes. Diabetes can even develop when the BMI is within a simple overweight, even when obesity figures have not been reached (BMI of 30).
It is characterized by the elevation of blood pressure levels or the pressure that the heart exerts on the arteries, especially in a sustained or continuous way. That is, it is the excessively high pressure that the blood exerts on the wall of our arteries.
We are facing a chronic and generally “silent” disease, which does not usually show symptoms until it is too late, increasing the risk of heart problems (angina, heart attack or heart failure), brain (infarction or cerebral hemorrhage) and kidney (renal insufficiency).
Increased risk of certain types of cancer
Overweight and obese people are at increased risk of some types of cancer, including:
- Endometrial Cancer: Cancer that begins and originates in the endometrium, which consists of the inner lining of the uterus.
- Breast cancer: it can affect both men and women, although its incidence is higher, especially in the latter. It appears when the cells of the glandular epithelium reproduce very quickly and uncontrollably.
- Colon cancer – starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (end part of the colon).
Other health consequences
In addition to the main health consequences caused by obesity, which we could consider serious due to the large number of deaths that they cause each year, there are also others that are equally related. They are the following:
- Decreased life expectancy.
- It can lead to arthritis problems.
- It causes depression, as well as generally low self-esteem.
- It can cause decreased fertility in both men and women.