Obesity is such a common condition in the United States that more than 42% of Americans are obese.
If you’re one of them, you may think of it as a lifestyle or appearance issue. Because of your obesity, for example, you may have trouble fitting into the clothes you like.
But obesity affects more than just your appearance. In fact, people living with obesity have an increased risk of developing certain health conditions.
Here at Peachtree Surgical & Bariatrics in Atlanta, Georgia, our providers dedicate themselves to helping people with obesity. One of our goals is to educate our patients about the health effects of carrying excess weight so they can make educated choices about managing their weight.
With that in mind, we share the following information about five serious health problems that can be caused or worsened by obesity.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body cannot properly use insulin to bring sugar (glucose) into cells. As a result, too much sugar remains in your blood, causing high blood sugar.
Over time, chronic high blood sugar can damage your heart, blood vessels, nerves, organs, eyes, and even your brain. By losing weight, you can bring your overall blood sugar into a healthier range, which could reduce your risk of the damaging effects of high blood sugar.
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux, is a condition that occurs when the acidic contents of your stomach flow back up into your esophagus.
Over time, frequent acid reflux can lead to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause serious damage to your esophagus, as well as symptoms such as pain, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing.
The risk of acid reflux goes up in obese people, because excess fat in the chest and belly can push stomach contents into the esophagus. Losing weight could reduce or eliminate reflux.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious chronic disorder in which you stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. Obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea because fat surrounding your airways can make it harder for you to breathe.
When you lose weight, you may reduce the fat in your neck and improve sleep apnea symptoms.
High blood pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure causes excess pressure on the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, aneurysm, dementia, kidney failure, and problems with your eyes.
Losing weight could lower your blood pressure, especially if you combine it with smarter eating and more activity.
Unhealthy cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Unhealthy levels of cholesterol — high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides — can cause fat deposits to form in your blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Losing weight may help improve your cholesterol levels, which can have a positive impact on your heart disease risk.
Reducing your health risks
If you can’t lose excess weight through exercise and smart eating, we invite you to learn more about weight loss surgery. Research suggests that weight-loss surgery may reduce your risk of premature death by as much as 30-50%, in large part because it helps reduce disease risk.
Here at Peachtree Surgical & Bariatrics, we offer a range of bariatric surgical options, including Lap-Band® and gastric sleeve surgery.
To learn about weight loss surgery, view our free online seminar or contact us to schedule an appointment for an evaluation with one of our caring surgeons.