The World Health Organization defines being overweight or obese as having excessive fat accumulation that poses a threat to one’s health. Obesity is generally measured in a unit called Body Mass Index (BMI). The body mass index provides a measurement of the amount of weight in kilograms a person has divided by their height squared. A person is considered healthy if their BMI lies between 18.5 and 24.9, underweight if their BMI is below 18.5 and overweight if their BMI is above 25. A person is termed obese if their BMI is above 30.
According to research, health conditions related to obesity include heart and blood vessel (Cardiovascular) diseases, diabetes, liver and kidney ailments, osteoarthritis and in extreme cases, cancer. This is common knowledge as the conditions above are among the severe conditions that obese people suffer from. However, obesity can also potentially lead to certain conditions that may not be as serious but are a nuisance to one’s health nonetheless.
Moreover, some of these conditions are also experienced by healthy people daily and are hence not widely perceived to be the result of obesity. A person suffering from these may think this is a condition people suffer from once a while and may not know that the underlying cause could be obesity. Let us take a look at five conditions that an obese person may be suffering from but is under the impression that obesity is not the culprit.
Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing rate reduces or the flow of air into your lungs completely stops. It can occur when your air ways become blocked due to throat muscles not working correctly during sleep. It may also happen if your brain does not give the right signals to your throat muscles. Though sleep apnea may affect anyone, there is an increased risk of this disorder for obese people.
According to a study, due to the higher amount of fat deposits in the respiratory tubes, the air ways are narrowed, as a result of which muscle activity is reduced which leads to episodes of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea leads to snoring, fatigue, diabetes, heart disease and even sudden death if your breathing stops for an extended period.
Medical professionals have always argued that there is a link between obesity and depression, and researchers argue that both conditions affect the other. However, in the past, this was just a hypothesis but has now been firmly established by recent research. Health professionals now argue that being overweight and obese has specific psychological implications for a person, which in turn result in depression. The psychological impact of obesity is based on social factors such as standards of beauty, which may lead to an obese person being dissatisfied by their body. The decrease in self-esteem and the subsequent sudden shift in eating habits can lead to an increased risk of depression.
Research has also shown that being overweight and obese increases a person’s susceptibility to diseases of the eye. Research indicates that increased BMI increases the risk of vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. Cataracts lead to blurring of one’s lens disallowing a person to see properly, causing blurry vision, trouble seeing bright lights and difficulty with vision at night. Macular degeneration is a condition which involves the worsening of one’s retinas. The probability of you suffering from these diseases is said to increase if you are overweight. Although health scientists have been unable to find the exact mechanism that links obesity and eye diseases, it is claimed that the blood vessels in the eyes of an obese person can be damaged due to the pressure exerted on them by the excess fat around them. This leads to decreased blood flow to the eye and thus causes damage to eye parts over an extended period of reduced blood flow. Hence, one can see how vision issues, not generally associated with obesity, do result from it.
Feeling overly tired, having reduced energy levels, and being sleepy can be a result of various behaviours and conditions. You may lead a sedentary lifestyle, or you may not be getting the required sleep. But fatigue is another one of those things that no one suspects to be associated with obesity but actually is. One reason for obese people suffering from fatigue is that the increased weight results in them having to expend greater amounts of energy to perform everyday tasks. This increased load that the body is under causes them to be overly exhausted, leading to fatigue.
Anxiety disorders are prevalent throughout the world and are considered as the most frequently and widely occurring form of mental disorders. These disorders are characterized by fear, excessive worrying, tension and panic attacks. According to a study, there are various ways in which one’s obesity may cause them to suffer from anxiety disorders. Firstly, obesity and being overweight brings with it a certain degree of stigma and discrimination in all aspects of life. An obese individual may be bullied at school, maybe discriminated in professional life and even be made fun of by family and friends. This may affect an individual’s self-esteem and distress them to the point that they may fear being in environments where their weight is seen negatively. Development of body image issues among the individual may also increase stress among them, leading to anxiety.
When it comes treatments available for obesity, one should not just do it for the sake of losing weight, but one should do it to prevent the numerous hidden conditions that result from being overweight or obese. Doctors and health professionals recommend multiple ways in which one can reduce their body mass. Reducing your calorie intake is the major way of reducing one’s weight as calories are the topmost culprit behind obesity. Moreover, you can engage in daily exercise to burn the extra calories that you have consumed. Surgeries to remove excess body fat are also recommended, but this option is only available to people who can afford expensive medical procedures. A cheaper but effective solution is ingesting weight loss tablets. Such tablets, like Orlistat, Alli and Xenical, are over-the-counter medicines that are readily available and can supplement one’s fight against obesity.