Health Risks Associated with Obesity
Timeless Fitness Tip
Obesity is considered the second most preventable cause of premature death and disease. The serious health risks associated with obesity include higher incidences of many conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular (heart) disease, respiratory problems, gout, and even cancer.
Breathing and Obesity
Obesity can make breathing more difficult because of a reduction in respiratory muscle strength. This is how it becomes one of the health risks associated with obesity. This creates an imbalance between the demand on the respiratory muscles and their capacity to generate tension, which leads to the perception of increased breathing effort. Furthermore, difficulty in breathing in obese patients could unmask other associated conditions. Thes include respiratory and heart diseases. Among these diseases, asthma deserves a special mention. Patients with obesity frequently report dyspnea and wheezing and are therefore often given therapy for asthma.
Obesity is more commonly seen with chronic bronchitis rather than with emphysema, although this distinction is not always the case. There is evidence that patients with COPD lead a more sedentary lifestyle, which would contribute to the development of obesity. A case control study revealed that elderly patients with COPD walked an average of 44 minutes per day, whereas healthy control patients walked 81 minutes per day. Further studies are needed to provide a better understanding of the impact of obesity in COPD and vice versa.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
In the absence of other known causes of respiratory failure, this syndrome, first described 50 years ago, includes respiratory failure, severe hypoxemia, hypercapnia and pulmonary hypertension as common symptoms. Most patients with obesity hypoventilation syndrome also have obstructive sleep apnea, but some patients have obesity hypoventilation syndrome but not obstructive sleep apnea, which suggests that obesity alone can lead to chronic hypoventilation.
Obesity rates have nearly doubled in the past 10 years, according to a study conducted by the Managed Care Center of UCLA. The study found that obesity-related health complications include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.
Consider the following facts regarding the health risks associated with obesity.
- Diabetes - obesity raises the risks of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 300 percent.
- Cardiovascular disease--obesity raises the risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
- Cancer - obesity raises the risk of developing cancer, possibly due to shifts in hormone levels.
Here's another fact: When both parents are obese, the likelihood of their child being obese is as high as 80 percent. When neither parent is obese, the chances are lower than 10 percent.
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