There are several reasons to lose weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to all sorts of health problems.
If you lose excess body fat your weight will drop, plus your risk of other health problems will fall too.
So, reasons to lose weight? Read on…
Health problems caused by excess body fat
Here is a list of some health problems linked with being overweight to demonstrate why it’s important to lose this excess fat.
Cardiovascular disease includes health problems such as angina, heart attacks and strokes.
As your body fat percentage rises so does your risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is usually the result of damage to the lining of your blood vessels.
Damage of this type can involve fatty cholesterol deposits in the lining of the arteries, and this damage can cause blood clots to develop inside the blood vessels. The disease process is often called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerotic damage narrows the blood vessels, which can restrict blood flow to essential organs such as the heart and brain. A reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle restricts the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the heat cells, causing the chest pain know as angina.
If blood clots and fat deposits in blood vessels become detached from the vessel lining these “emboli” can travel downstream. This can completely block blood vessels. The bigger the embolus, the greater the amount of an organ that will be deprived of blood.
If this happens in the heart’s coronary arteries it can cause a heart attack. If this happens in the brain’s arteries it can cause a stroke.
High blood pressure
Although the links between obesity and high blood pressure (hypertension) and clear, the ways in which obesity causes hypertension are not.
It may be that obesity activates the fight or flight response. This makes your heart pump more blood, while at the same time constricting blood vessels, which increases blood pressure.
Obesity can also cause your kidneys to reduce urine production, which causes fluid retention and increased blood pressure.
High blood pressure damages blood vessel walls, causing cardiovascular disease to develop faster. If there are weak spots in blood vessel walls the increased blood pressure can cause them to swell and even burst. This is called an aneurism.
The increased blood pressure makes it more difficult for your heart to pump blood into the circulation, which can put an additional strain on your heart. This can cause the heart to become enlarged, leading to heart failure.
Abnormal blood lipids (blood fats)
High levels of body fat can cause in increase in the levels of fat in your blood. These high levels of fat in the blood can increase your risk of developing various diseases.
There are different types of fat found in the blood, including triglycerides and cholesterol.
High levels of blood triglycerides can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
High levels of cholesterol, particularly LDL-cholesterol (often called “bad” cholesterol) can increase your risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
It should be noted that HDL cholesterol, sometimes called “good” cholesterol, lowers these risks. This is because cholesterol inside HDL is being removed from the bloodstream and taken to the liver for excretion, which reduces the risks to the cardiovascular system.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors associated with being overweight or obese. These risk factors increase the danger of developing several of the health problems outlined here.
The factors contributing to metabolic syndrome include a large waistline caused by belly fat, high blood triglyceride levels, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
The differences between type-1 and type-2 diabetes are not always understood by people.
Type-1 diabetes normally develops in younger people and is caused by the pancreas losing the ability to produce insulin.
Insulin enables the body to use sugar in the blood for energy. This lack of insulin in type-1 diabetes causes high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and weight loss due to body fat stores being used for energy instead of the sugar that would normally be used.
Type-2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where the pancreas produces insulin but the body ignores it. Insulin resistance can develop if you are overweight due to high levels of body fat and high levels of fat in the blood.
Being overweight or obese has been linked with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer.
The types of cancer linked with obesity include, cancers of the uterus, ovaries, gallbladder, kidney, cervix, thyroid, liver, colon.
High levels of body fat can cause breathing problems.
Belly fat build-up around the abdomen can make it difficult for the chest to expand, so you will find it more difficult to breath, particularly when sitting or lying down.
Neck fat can narrow the airways leading to breathing difficulties while asleep , which is known as sleep apnea.
The gall bladder stores bile produced by the liver. This bile is passes down the bile duct and is added to the food in your intestines.
Bile that is added to the intestines contains chemicals that help the digestion of dietary fats, and also contains a waste chemical (bilirubin), which is excreted by this route.
High body fat levels increase the amount of fat in the blood, which can lead to hard fatty deposits forming in the gall bladder. These are called gall stones. Gall stones can irritate the gall bladder and block the bile duct, which is very painful and often needs surgery.
Gout is caused by a build up in the joints of a chemical called uric acid. People who are obese have high levels of uric acid in their blood, which can accumulate in joints causing painful gout.
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis associated with damage to the joints. Arthritis means that the joints have become inflamed, which can be very painful and lead to further joint damage.
Being overweight puts extra pressure on the joints, particularly the weight-bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles. This extra pressure causes joint damage leading to osteoarthritis.
Mental health problems
Obesity has been linked with mental health problems such as depression.
This seems to involve a two-way relationship between obesity and mental health issues.
If you are obese you may worry about your body image, and become depressed about it.
Being depressed can cause you to eat more, which causes further weight gain. Also, if you are worried about how you look due to being overweight or obese you may avoid going out. This reduces the amount of activity and exercise you get, which can also result in further weight gain.
Reasons to lose weight? To become more healthy
So, there are some good reasons to lose weight?
It would appear that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of all sorts of health problems. Overweight and obesity statistics show that this is on the increase.
Most of the sources used for this article refer to body mass index as a way of indicating overweight or obesity, but this has been shown to be an unreliable measure of obesity.
A better way to measure this is probably body fat percentage. Although it is more complicated to calculate, it is actually the amount of body fat we have that we are talking about in this article.