There are many chronic diseases which may be developed with obesity. Obesity increases the risk of developing; insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, stroke, arthritis, and cancer. These are just some of the many illnesses linked with obesity.
Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetes condition where cells do not respond to the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin, but the cells in the body aren’t able to use the insulin effectively and become resistant to insulin. Compared to muscle cells, fat cells are more insulin resistant, which is a big cause of insulin resistance in obesity. Over many years, the pancreas produces enough insulin to overcome the resistance to keep blood glucose levels normal. Eventually, the pancreas can no longer keep up with producing these high insulin levels, which produces spikes in blood glucose levels, which result in type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) cause from insulin resistance and lack of insulin. Obesity is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through increased exercise and dietary changes necessary for diabetics, also with medication known as insulin; which blood sugar levels need to be checked daily. Rates of type 2 diabetes have increased drastically over the years, since obesity rates have also increased. Weight gain is common with people who take insulin. The more insulin being used, the more glucose is absorbed in your cells. The absorbed glucose is stored as fat, which is one of the reasons for weight gain.
Hypertension is a chronic illness where the blood pressure in the arteries of the heart is raised. Blood pressure is measured comparing if the heart muscle contracts (systolic) or is relaxed (diastolic) between beats. Normal blood pressure at rest is between 100-140 mmHg (systolic) / 60-90 mmHg (diastolic). High blood pressure is classified as 140/90 mmHg or higher. The risk of developing hypertension is higher in obese people who are apple shaped. This puts a lot of more tension and strain on the heart, which causes hypertension. Lifestyle changes such as diet and increased exercise can help to reduce the risk of hypertension as well as lower high blood pressure. Other options for people who do not change their lifestyle effectively enough are medications which help lower your blood pressure; but they are not always effective long-term, lifestyle changes are important.
Cardiovascular disease involves the heart, arteries, capillaries and veins of the heart. Cardiovascular disease is any disease that affects the heart and cardiovascular system. One of the main cause of cardiovascular disease is hypertension which is caused from obesity, and from smoking tobacco. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths worldwide, and these deaths have increased since obesity rates have risen. Ways to treat cardiovascular disease, again are a healthy lifestyle with increased physical activity and a healthy diet along with the avoidance of smoking tobacco and the help of medications.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder common in both adults and children, with abnormal breathing and pauses of breath during sleep. Each pause in breathing is called an apnea and can last second, or minutes and can happen 5-30+ times in an hour during sleep. The pause of breathing causes carbon dioxide levels to rise in your blood and a person will wake up gasping for air, and will continue to sleep once oxygen levels become normal again. One of the forms of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea, and is most common in adults. If sleep apnea isn’t treated it can lead to serious complications such as cardiovascular disease, sleep paralysis, and even death due to lack of oxygen. People with sleep apnea tend to snore, have excessive daytime sleepiness, slower reaction time and vision problems. Some treatments involve lifestyle changes such as; avoiding alcohol and muscle relaxants, losing weight and quitting smoking.
A stroke is the loss of brain function due to the disruption in blood supply to the brain. This disruption can be a lack of blood flow or a bleeding blood vessel of the brain. The affected area in the brain causes the brain to not function properly which may affect a person’s ability to move one side of the body, unable to understand and communicate speech correctly and impaired vision on one side of the body. Risk factors involved in a stroke include older age, having a previous stroke, tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol which few are chronic diseases associated with obesity. The most common risk factor of a stroke is high blood pressure, which is caused from obesity. Prevention of having a recurring stroke involve drugs such as aspirin and must control your high blood pressure. Lifestyle risk factors include a healthy diet and nutrition, increased exercise, quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol. In the past 20 years the number of strokes have decreased by approx. 10% in the developed world and increased by 10% in the developing world, and 2/3rd of the strokes occur in people aged 65 and over.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis which involves the breakdown of cartilage at the joints. Obesity has a huge impact on osteoarthritis. This is because the more weight there is on a joint, the more stressed this joint will become and the more likely it will breakdown and become damaged. Every pound of extra weight puts an extra 4 lbs of extra pressure on the knees. A person who is 10 lbs. overweight has 40 lbs of extra pressure on their knees, if a person is 100 lbs. overweight is 400 lbs. of extra pressure on the knees. This is why people who are overweight have a much higher risk of developing arthritis. The extra weight and fat itself is an active tissue which release chemicals which promote inflammation, which also help to promote osteoarthritis. Different ways to manage and treat osteoarthritis is of course through lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, to decrease and lose weight, medications, and surgery on the joints such as joint replacements.
Obesity has been linked to different types of cancers in both men and women. Obesity has been linked to colon cancer, cancer of the rectum and prostate in men, and has been linked to colon and gallbladder and uterus cancer in women. Obesity is also associated with breast cancer (post-menopausal) in women because fat tissue is import part in production of estrogen, and higher levels of estrogen due to excess fat increase the risk of breast cancer. Other ways obesity is linked to cancer is through increased level; of insulin, which may promote the growth of certain tumors. Therefore, losing weight and taking care of your health and diet is very important and does play a role in having a higher risk of certain types of cancers.