When your body is carrying too much weight, it can lead to many health problems.
Excess fat can cause destructive harm by the extra strain on your bones and organs.
Obesity also affects your hormones and metabolism, increasing your risk for several diseases.
Obesity and Hypertension
As fat is accumulated in your body (due to poor diet and inadequate physical activity), it causes an increase in circulating blood lipids – the fat in your food runs through your veins and arteries on its way to being stored in your tissues.
These fatty molecules in your blood can damage the inner walls of your arteries, cause scarring, and lead to a buildup of plaque.
This narrowing and hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis) mean that blood must be pulsed through your blood vessels at a higher pressure. And this forceful high-pressure flow of blood (hypertension) can then cause damage to your vital organs.
Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
An excess of fatty lipids in your blood can also lead to insulin resistance, the core characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
Your pancreas produces insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
But when you eat poorly and live with obesity, your tissues can lose their ability to respond to insulin. The receptor sites that insulin normally binds to on the surface of your cells become “clogged” with fatty molecules.
This then leads to elevated blood sugar levels, which can then cause further damage to your organs, blood vessels, and especially your nervous system.
Obesity and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing temporarily stops while you sleep. It’s usually caused by the soft tissue in the back of your throat blocking your airway.
This blockage can cause you to snore loudly or make choking noises as you try to breathe. And it can happen multiple times throughout the night, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight or obese. The extra fat in the neck area can compress the airway and make it more likely to collapse.
Obesity and Depression
Depression is a severe mental health condition that affects your mood, thoughts, and behavior.
It can lead to a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt.
Obesity and depression often go hand-in-hand. This is likely due to multiple factors, including the negative impact of obesity on self-esteem and socialization, the physical pain and discomfort associated with carrying excess weight, and a reduced ability to participate in physical activity (which can help improve mood).
Depression can make it more challenging to stick to a healthy diet and exercise program, further perpetuating the vicious cycle.
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy weight, it’s never too late to ask for help. Talk to your primary care physician about developing a plan that’s right for you.