Health Risks of Obesity
Overweight and obese people are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes; 90% of all people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
- Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
- Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk for many serious complications. Some complications of type 2 diabetes include: heart disease (cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy).
The Role of Weight Loss Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes
Current research shows that Bariatric surgical procedures have proven more successful helping morbidly obese people lose weight and control diabetes than conservative methods.
(Greenway SE, Greenway FL 3rd, Klein S. Arch Surg. 2002 Oct;137 (10):1109-17.)
According to a large research study on type 2 diabetics who had gastric bypass surgery conducted out of East Carolina University, the research team found that gastric bypass surgery, more than any other therapy, has produced lasting and complete control of diabetes. The operation provides long-term control of non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The patients who participated in the study maintained normal levels of plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and insulin.
(Pories WJ, Swanson MS, MacDonald KG, Long SB, Morris PG, Brown BM, Barakat HA, deRamon RA, Israel G, Dolezal JM, et al. Ann Surg. 1995 Sep;222(3):339-50; discussion 350-2.)
At the beginning of 2008, news headlines around the world read: “Obesity Surgery Can Cure Diabetes”. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), demonstrated superior results for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The complete remission rate of 73% for the surgery vs 13% for medical management is among the highest reported in literature. Dixon JB, Obrien PE, Playfair J. Chapman L. Schachter LM, Skinner S, Proietto J, Bailey M, Anderson M. JAMA 2008:299 (3): 316-323.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) about one in every four American adults has high blood pressure. Once high blood pressure develops, it usually lasts a lifetime. The good news is that it can be treated and controlled.
What is blood pressure?
Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Each time the heart beats (about 60-70 times a minute at rest), it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered normal. High blood pressure is a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher. Pre-hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 120–139 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure of 80–89 mmHg. Persons with pre-hypertension are at increased risk to progress to hypertension.
Who Gets High Blood Pressure?
More than 50 million American adults--1 in 4--have high blood pressure.
In the U.S., high blood pressure occurs more often in African Americans. Over half of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure.
Your chances of getting high blood pressure increase if you:
- Are overweight
- Are a man over the age of 45
- Are a woman over the age of 55
- Have a family history of high blood pressure
- Have a "pre-hypertension” (120-139/80-89)
Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease = CAD)
CAD is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S. in both men and women. If you are overweight or obese, carrying this extra weight puts you at risk for developing many diseases, especially heart disease and stroke.