All too often, thoughts and discussions of weight loss get sidetracked by individuals wondering if they are overweight or if they are obese, though both classifications include health risks. Changing the narrative about weight and choosing to find the right kind of help for weight loss can be life-changing for those who struggle with being overweight.
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What, Exactly, is Overweight?
There is a simple calculation that can be done to determine if you are overweight and at risk for diseases. This calculation takes into account your height, age, and gender to get a percentage called body mass index. This formula states that weight divided by height squared, then multiplied by 703 equals the body mass index. There are many free online BMI calculators that make it easy to input your numbers and find out if you are overweight (BMI of 25 – 29.9) or obese (BMI over 30).
Another important number for those who are interested in how their weight may be affecting overall health is the waist size, as carrying more weight around the waist may indicate higher health risks. Recent studies have shown that men with a waist size above 40” and women with a waist size above 35” have increased chances of developing obesity-related diseases.
Diseases Related to Being Overweight
There are many side effects to being overweight, for instance, the extra weight puts people at risk for a wide variety of diseases. Some of diseases related to being overweight are:
- Type 2 Diabetes – Someone with type 2 diabetes has higher than normal blood sugar levels. Though it is not clear why many adults who are overweight or obese (87 percent) develop diabetes, some medical professionals have theorized that being overweight makes people resistant to insulin which is supposed to take sugar from the blood to the cells. This high blood sugar level might be what leads to type 2 diabetes. Many physicians recommend increased physical activity and losing weight as a way to combat this type of diabetes.
- Kidney Disease – Your kidneys work as the filter for your body’s blood supply. They remove extra water and any waste products turning them into the urine. Kidneys also help regulate blood pressure. However, when the kidneys are damaged, they are unable to filter as effectively as they should. This means that waste products could be building up in your body. There is a direct link between kidney disease and obesity. Physicians frequently tell those who are in the initial stages of chronic kidney disease to lose weight in an effort to help the kidneys remain functional.
- High Blood Pressure – When your heart beats, it pushes blood through the arteries in your body. When this blood is pushed with a high force through the arteries, it is because of high blood pressure or hypertension. Being overweight means that your heart must pump with more force to make sure blood gets to all of your cells. Many who work to lower their BMI through weight loss and lifestyle changes find that their blood pressure falls to a recommended rate (120/80).
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- Stroke – When part of the brain does not get enough blood flow, some of the cells can die. All too frequently, it is a blood clot that blocks blood that should be going to the brain. One of the main causes of strokes is high blood pressure resulting from being overweight. By losing weight and decreasing blood pressure, individuals are also able to lower their chances of having a stroke.
- Cancer – When cells in a part of the body grow abnormally, they are typically cancerous. Sadly, these abnormal cells can travel to other parts of the body. Though it has not been determined why researchers have found a link between increased fat cells and increased cancer risk. Some have stated that perhaps the fat cells are releasing hormones that cause other cells to grow abnormally. Losing weight or avoiding gaining extra weight may help decrease cancer risk, though, to date, there are not any studies which have been able to prove this conclusively.
- Sleep Apnea – People who have sleep apnea tend to stop breathing for short periods of time while they are asleep. This often causes them to feel extra tired during the day and can cause damage to the heart. Being overweight is a frequent cause of sleep apnea, and this may be due to increased fat in the neck giving less room for the airway. Losing weight and decreasing the size and inflammation of the neck often helps decrease the severity of sleep apnea.
- Osteoarthritis – Though osteoarthritis is most common as people age, this painful condition is more common in overweight individuals. This may be due to the additional pressure that extra weight puts on both the joints and the cartilage which makes them wear away more quickly than is typical. Losing weight, along with regular exercise may decrease the stiffness in joints commonly associated with osteoarthritis. It may also help to decrease overall stress on areas such as the lower back, hips, and knees.
Losing Weight May Help You Feel Healthier and Happier
The benefits of losing a modest amount of weight can be astonishing. In fact, individuals who are able to lose even 5-10 percent of their starting weight frequently experience benefits that are both physical and emotional. Making an appointment with a medical professional who understands the full picture of the weight loss battle can be one of the most effective ways to not only lose weight but to keep it off as well.
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Should you prefer the convenience of seeing a weight loss doctor in San Francisco, EZCare Clinic can help. We offer assistance with exercise programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, Lipo-B injections and prescription weight loss medication for patients who qualify. Make a call or walk right in today to see how our doctors can help change your life for the better.