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Obesity and health

It is well known that the obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. Woman is considered obese when her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. Body Mass Index (BMI) is usually used for objective obesity measures. Women could be considered overweight if their BMI is between 25 and 29.9 and women could be considered obese if their BMI is over 30.

Nowadays every woman knows that overweight and obesity are not healthy and associated with several health risk factors and diseases.

Obesity and health risks

The infertility rates are increased in obese women. At the same time, the obesity and overweight are typical symptoms of some types of infertility (mainly hormonal) – polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hirsute syndrome, hypothalamic disorders, irregular periods, etc.

Obesity is unpleasant condition for normal pregnancy development. Very often obesity during pregnancy correlate with high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, urinary tract infections (UTI), blood clots, prolonged labor and higher fetal death rate in late stages of pregnancy (mainly because of diabetes). Obesity is also associated with increased rates of cesarean delivery. Infants of women who are obese are also at higher risk for neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain or spine.

Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome (sometimes called “syndrome X”) is a pre-diabetic condition that is significantly associated with heart disease and higher morbidity/mortality rates from all causes. Typical symptoms of the metabolic syndrome include obesity (mainly abdominal fat), increased cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. According to doctors the combination of weight loss and physical exercises could be a good start for effective treatment of the metabolic syndrome.

According to American Cancer Society the healthy weight is more important than eating specific healthy foods, when it comes to cancer prevention. Obesity has been associated with a higher risk for cancer in general and specific cancers in particular. Some studies mentioned that food with restricting calories can reduce the risk of cancer.
As during obesity some growth factors are usually increased, they could trigger rapid cell production which can lead to different types of cancer.
Medical societies already discovered the correlation between obesity and following types of cancer – uterine and breast cancer, colon cancer, cancer of the esophagus and pancreatic cancer.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the health problem most commonly associated with obesity and the greater the weight, the greater the risk. High blood pressure carries serious risks of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Many studies have reported that modest weight loss is beneficial for reducing existing high blood pressure.

Obesity and Health

Obesity and Health

Heart Failure
Obesity is associated with both hypertension and type 2 diabetes – both conditions put people at risk for heart failure. Evidence strongly suggests that overweight itself is a major risk factor for heart failure, particularly in women.

Levels of Cholesterol and Lipids
There is no strong evidence about obesity associated with overall cholesterol levels but it is noted that triglyceride levels (the major form of fat storage in the body) are usually high in obese people, while HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol) tend to be low. Both conditions are risk factors for heart disease.

It is well known that obesity is associated with a higher risk for stroke. Obese women are at higher risk and should consider weight control as a measure of prevention.

Type 2 Diabetes & Insulin Resistance
Most people with type 2 diabetes are obese and weight loss may be the key in controlling the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes. The common factor appears to be insulin resistance. Insulin is a critical hormone in the use of sugar. In type 2 diabetes, different factors cause the body to become insulin resistant – that is, the body can no longer respond properly to insulin. This has the effect of increasing sugar levels in the blood, the hallmark of diabetes.
Insulin resistance is also associated with high blood pressure and abnormalities in blood clotting. Some research indicates that overweight, in fact, is the one common element linking insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Muscles & Bones
Extra weight during obesity could have additional effects and stresses on bones and muscles. Doctors discovered that the incidence of osteoarthritis is significantly increased in obese people (even in overweight people). Oerweight could play a trigger role in carpal tunnel syndrome and other problems involving wrists’ and hands’ nerves.

It is known that during obesity symptoms of hypoxia were discovered. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is a condition that occurs in obese people, in which poor breathing leads to lower oxygen levels and higher carbon dioxide levels in the blood.
During overweight lungs could be in stress which could provoke lung diseases especially if obese person is smoking.

People with obesity, particularly if they also have type 2 diabetes, are at higher risk for a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Overweight can cause liver damage that is similar to liver injury seen in alcoholism. During obesity the liver could be so called “locus minoris” (target for several liver pathologies).

The incidence of gallstones is significantly higher in obese women. The risk for stone formation is also high if a person loses weight too quickly. It is tested that low calorie diets and/or use of ursodeoxycholic acid (Actigall) could prevent gallstones in obese women.

Sleeping Disorders
Obesity can be the main cause of sleeping disorders. Obese women who are obese and nap tend to fall asleep faster and sleep longer during the day. At night, however, it takes them longer to fall asleep, and they sleep less than people with normal weights. In an apparent vicious circle, studies have suggested that overweight not only interferes with sleep but that sleep problems may actually contribute to obesity.

Sleep Apnea
It is known that apple shape obesity is strongly associated with sleep apnea, which occurs when the upper throat relaxes and collapses from time to time during sleep. This collapse temporarily blocks the passage of air. Sleep apnea is increasingly being viewed as a potentially serious health problem, which may lead to complications, such as heart disease and stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea may also add to obesity.

The frequency of obesity among depressed women is higher. But is it difficult to clarify if overweight is responsible for depression or depression making people passive and obese. In some cases of atypical depression, people overeat and may gain weight. Overweight and obese women could also become depressed because of social problems and reduced self-image. Many cases are reported when depression in women disappeared after dramatic weight loss.

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