Current U.S. statistics suggest that one-third of American adults are obese, while over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Overweight and obese individuals are at risk for many diseases and health conditions owing to their excess weight.
- Type 2 Diabetes - This was previously called “adult-onset diabetes” because in the past it was usually discovered after age 40. However, with increasing levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyle, this disease is now being found more and more in adolescents - and sometimes even in children under 10 - and the term “adult onset” is no longer used.
- Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) - NAFLD is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver. From 50 to 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes and 95 percent of those who are obese have fatty liver. But up to 77 percent of people who have fatty liver don’t have any symptoms. If it leads to cirrhosis of the liver, it’s fatal, unless you are lucky enough to get a liver transplant.
- Sleep Apnea - Sleep apnea is believed to affect at least 1 out of every 200 Americans - 70 to 90 percent are men, mostly middle-aged and usually overweight. But the condition can afflict both men and women at any age. It is a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep due to blockage of the airway and can be life-threatening.
- Osteoarthritis - Osteoarthritis is a gradual deterioration of the joint tissue due to excess wear and tear. The risk of developing arthritis increases by approximately 40 percent with every 10 pounds of excess weight gain. If you are obese, your knees and hips experience up to three times more pressure with each step and six times more pressure when walking down a flight of steps.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) - Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood flow on the walls of the arteries. It is the determined by the force and amount of blood pumped by the heart and by the diameter of the arteries. It consists of two components: Systolic pressure and Diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of 120/80mmHg is considered normal whereas a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure or hypertension.
- High cholesterol (dyslipidemia) - Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body needs to work properly. There are different types of fat: LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol, HDL cholesterol or "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides. Too much LDL and triglycerides and too little HDL increases your risk for stroke, heart disease, and circulatory problems.
- Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) - CHD or CAD is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. It is the leading cause of death for adults in the U.S.
- Stroke - A stroke is the sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen. A stroke is usually defined as one of two types: Ischemic caused by a blockage in an artery and Hemorrhagic caused by a tear in the artery’s wall that produces bleeding into or around the brain. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide.
- Gallbladder Disease - One of the major causes among the many risk factors for gallbladder disease is obesity. Gallbladder disease occurs when bile becomes concentrated and thick. Then gallstones are formed when the bile hardens.
- Cancer - Many cancers are associated with obesity, including cancer of: the esophagus, breast, endometrium, colon and rectum, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder and possibly others.
My colleague on ObesityCentral, The HealthGal who is a physician assistant, writes in her article Obesity Kills, "The bottom line is that if you struggle with obesity and you don’t figure out a way to lose the weight in a sustainable and healthy fashion…you are at serious risk of dying prematurely. Because obesity is itself a disease and …obesity kills."
What to read next: 10 Obesity-Related Diseases
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