Sunday, December 19, 2010

Impact Of Overweight On Health and Risks!

Doctors use the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a convenient method of assessing whether someone is underweight, normal weight or overweight. According to the body mass index, a person is deemed overweight if they have a BMI of 25 or higher. BMI is based on 2 variables, weight and height, but takes no account of body fat percentage. Thus it is less accurate when determining the weight/health status of muscular athletes (who may be classified as mildly or seriously overweight), or older unfit people (who may be classified as normal, even though they may have too high a proportion of body fat). In addition, BMI is a Western system and therefore not entirely appropriate for Eastern peoples, whose body frame may differ. 

 Care with your body weight

Being overweight or obese isn't a cosmetic problem. It greatly raises the risk in adults for many diseases and conditions.

Overweight and Obesity-Related Health Problems in Adults
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition in which a substance called plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood.

Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) or a heart attack. (Angina is chest pain or discomfort.)

As your body mass index (BMI) increases, so does your risk of having CHD and a heart attack. Obesity also can lead to heart failure. This is a serious condition in which your heart can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. Your chances of having high blood pressure are greater if you're overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form at the site. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke. The risk of having a stroke rises as BMI increases.
Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body's blood glucose, or blood sugar, level is too high. Normally, the body breaks down food into glucose and then carries it to cells throughout the body. The cells use a hormone called insulin to turn the glucose into energy.

In type 2 diabetes, the body's cells don't use insulin properly. At first, the body reacts by making more insulin. Over time, however, the body can't make enough insulin to control its blood sugar level.

Diabetes is a leading cause of early death, CHD, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. Most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Abnormal Blood Fats
If you're overweight or obese, you're at increased risk of having abnormal levels of blood fats. These include high levels of triglycerides and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Abnormal levels of these blood fats are a risk factor for CHD. For more information about triglycerides and LDL and HDL cholesterol, go to the Diseases and Conditions Index High Blood Cholesterol article.
Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to overweight and obesity. These risk factors increase your risk of CHD and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.

You can develop any one of these risk factors by itself, but they tend to occur together. A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made if you have at least three of the following risk factors:
  •  A large waistline. This also is called abdominal obesity or "having an apple shape." Having extra fat in the waist area is a greater risk factor for CHD than having extra fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
  •  A higher than normal triglyceride level (or you're on medicine to treat high triglycerides).
  •  A lower than normal HDL cholesterol level (or you're on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol).
  •  Higher than normal blood pressure (or you're on medicine to treat high blood pressure).
  •  Higher than normal fasting blood sugar (or you're on medicine to treat diabetes).

Being overweight or obese raises the risk of colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.

Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.
Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

A person who has sleep apnea may have more fat stored around the neck. This can narrow the airway, making it hard to breathe.
Reproductive Problems
Obesity can cause menstrual irregularity and infertility in women.
Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They're mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause abdominal or back pain.

People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn't work right.
Overweight and Obesity-Related Health Problems in Children and Teens

Overweight and obesity also increase the health risks for children and teens. Type 2 diabetes once was rare in American children, but an increasing number of children are developing the disease.

Also, overweight children are more likely to become overweight or obese as adults, with the same disease risks.

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