According to the American Heart Organization, "obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack." Obesity raises cholesterol levels, lowering the HDL (good cholesterol). It also raises blood pressure and can lead to diabetes.
It's no surprise that obesity is also implicated in sleep disorders. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted a poll that showed:
- Inadequate sleep is associated with diabetes in older adults.
- Sleep problems are common in older adults who are classified as obese or overweight.
- About one-half of older adults exercise three or more times a week to improve their fitness. The more that older people exercise, the less likely they are to report fair or poor sleep. 77 percent of older adults who are obese report some kind of sleep problem.
What can be done about this epidemic of obesity that is attacking our population? About 65 percent of Americans are now overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This problem is even spread to our children. Some possible solutions include:
- Eat a healthier diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and eat more fish.. Avoid fast foods and avoid food high in fats and carbohydrates.
- Exercise - get lots of it. Even if you have health problems that prevent anything strenuous, do what you can.
- Get adequate sleep.
Obesity is not only a known cause of sleep apnea, but also one of the causes of insomnia. Obesity makes lying down, rolling over, and finding a comfortable position difficult. This is also a two-way street. Sleep deprivation, as caused by sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, releases a hormone that causes a person to put on weight. Also, the lack of sleep makes it more difficult to exercise. You just don't have the energy.
Dr. Mark Brown, MD, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, and leader of a study done at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, states: "Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by decreases or cessation of breathing during sleep. Obesity is a known risk factor for the disorder; however, it is hypothesized that the effects of obstructive sleep apnea itself may predispose patients to weight gain."
Obesity has been proven to be dangerous to your health, to your heart, to your sleep and to many other areas of your body and your life. It has become an epidemic and it's spreading. Now is the time to do something to put a stop to this "disease" while we are still healthy enough to do something.
Published On: February 25, 2010