If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes certain types of cancer, gout and gall bladder disease. Being overweight also causes problems such as sleep apnea and the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have health problems.
- Heart Disease and Stroke: Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability for both men and women. Very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can lead to heart disease and are linked to being overweight. Being overweight also contributes (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death. The build-up of fats in the arteries in the brain can contribute to blood clots that blocks blood flow to the brain, leading to stroke.
- Diabetes: Obesity is the number one contributor to type 2 diabetes. Too much body fat leaves the body resistant to insulin. It is insulin that allows the body to maintain a healthy blood sugar level (glucose) and resistance to insulin leads to high blood sugar level. If you have type 2 diabetes, maintaining weight and being more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. If you see medicine to control your blood sugar, weight loss and physical activity may make it possible for your doctor to decrease the amount of medication you need.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder that mostly affects the joints in your knees, hips and lower back. Extra weight appears to increase the risk of osteoarthritis by placing extra pressure on these joints and wearing away the cartilage (tissue that custodians the joints) that normally protects them.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea can be a very serious condition and exists when an individual stops breathing for periods as they sleep. Those with sleep apnea usually snore very heavily. The majority of people who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight. A large neck and narrow airways causes the upper airway to become blocked during sleep, cutting off breathing. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
- Cancer: Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women these include cancer of the gallbladder, uterus, cervix, ovary, breast and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk of developing cancer of the colon, rectum and prostate.
- Gout: Gout is a joint disease caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid sometimes forms into solid stone or crystal masses that become deposited in the joints. Gout is more common in overweight people and the risk of developing the disorder decreases in higher body weights.
- Gallstones: Gallstones are solid deposits of cholesterol in the gallbladder. Your risk of the disease increases with your weight increase.
- High Blood Pressure: Weight gain results in more fatty tissues. As with all other tissues in the body fatty tissue requires oxygen and blood nutrients to survive. With this increased demand comes a corresponding increase in the amount of blood circulating through the body. This increase in blood circulation results in greater pressure on the walls of the arteries, resulting in high blood pressure.