Despite recent attention given to body image issues, obesity has long been a topic of concern. Some people are clearly looking for a way to improve their looks. Others are trying to regain lost energy and feel younger. Regardless of why you might want to slim down, there are some very serious medical issues associated with being overweight. Here are 5 important medical reasons to lose weight.
1.) Reduced Risk for Diabetes
One of the most common diseases associated with obesity is type 2 diabetes. While an individual with it is still able to produce insulin, the excess weight makes their cells more resistant to its effects. It’s not entirely clear why this occurs, but recent studies suggest that obesity actually stresses the endoplasmic reticulum within the cells. This causes suppression of insulin receptor signals, leading to insulin resistance. Losing weight reduces the likelihood of developing this problem.
2.) Healthier Heart
Being overweight can lead to various problems associated with heart health, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Obesity raises LDL cholesterol levels (”bad” cholesterol), while reducing HDL (”good” cholesterol)levels. It also raises blood pressure, which along with higher LDL levels, can lead to plaque buildup along the arterial walls. For reasons like these, one of the healthiest decisions you can make is to make losing weight a priority.
3.) Decreased Risk for Cancer
According to a study in The Lancet Oncology, nearly 500,000 cancer cases in 2012 could be attributed to obesity. Obesity was already considered a risk factor for certain types of cancers, including breast and pancreatic cancer. However, these findings imply that it plays an even greater role than was previously thought. There are many possible factors for why this might be, including higher levels of estrogen and chronic low-level inflammation, which have both been linked to obesity.
4.) Healthier Joints
One of the most painful effects of obesity is how rough the excess weight can be on a person’s joints. Since arthritic symptoms are also associated with age, excess weight is often overlooked. The reason osteoarthritis is so debilitating is that it results from a vicious cycle of repeated damage. When your joints hurt, you’re less likely to move and use them. If they’re not being loaded and used, the muscles surrounding them will get weaker. Weaker muscles provide less cushioning when the joints are used, which only worsens the condition, resulting in more pain.
5.) Healthier Immune System
Another unfortunate consequence of obesity is the effect it can have on the body’s immune system. A high BMI (body mass index) has been associated with an increased likelihood of contracting infections, including those of the gums, sinuses and stomach. Excess fatty tissue has been linked to the over-release of immune chemicals. This higher exposure actually interferes with the body’s ability to stop infections. Losing weight is the best way to ensure that you’ll be better equipped to fight off minor infections when they occur.
It may not be possible to get back 20 years of your life, but you can reduce the impact caused by excess weight. Carrying less weight allows your bodily systems to run the way they’re supposed to, resulting in fewer problems with clogged arteries, aching joints and cancer scares. While it can be difficult to lose those unwanted pounds, the medical benefits could not be clearer.