What effects does obesity have on the body?
Did you know obesity makes your body older? Is it not uncommon to hear that bad health has become a crisis today. Due to the current scenario of desk jobs and unhealthy eating, health- both physical and mental- has greatly suffered. One of the biggest side-effects of this is obesity.
Obesity is a condition in which a person has a harmful amount of body fat or an unhealthy distribution of body fat. It raises the risk for several serious health complications. Too much body fat puts a strain on bones and organs It also causes complex changes in hormones and metabolism and increases inflammation in the body.
People with obesity have a BMI- Body mass index- of 30 or higher. According to the ICMR-INDIAB study, 2015, “the prevalence rate of obesity and central obesity vary from 11.8% to 31.3% and 16.9%-36.3% respectively”. (1) There are a multitude of factors that lead to obesity including age, gender, environment, socio-economic status and so on. Let’s have a look at the effects of obesity on the body
1. Effects on the Brain
The effects of obesity on the body have to start with the brain. Health problems caused by obesity in the brain are twofold. The first is that there is a permeating risk of stroke due to high blood pressure. Another aspect is wholly psychological. Obesity can lead to a string of mental disorders from clinical depression to body image issues to anxiety and several eating disorders.
Therefore, if you or your loved ones are fighting against obesity, kindness needs to be the first step. Ridicule, hatred or constant nagging are worse for obesity. Instead, a little love, support and help in the fight would go a long way.
2. Effects on the Heart
High blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol and high blood sugar are all factors that can lead to the hardening of your arteries. Thus, the heart needs to pump harder to pump the same amount of blood throughout the body. This is what hypertension is, and this is the leading cause of heart attacks. This is how it leads to the risk of hypertension to the heart problem.
Moreover, these same factors with the added issue of an obese body and narrowed arteries to the heart lead to a condition called atherosclerosis which contributes to the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
3. Effects on the Lungs
The health effects of obesity on lung function are multifactorial, with mechanical and inflammatory parts of obesity playing a role. Obesity has a major impact on respiratory function, which adds to the burden of respiratory illness. These mechanical consequences are difficult to quantify using standard pulmonary function tests and BMI measurements.
4. Effects on the Liver
The liver is the organ, the pancreas within it specifically, that produces insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for carrying sugar from the bloodstream to the cells that can store it or use it for energy. Effects of obesity on the body, particularly the liver are since obesity can make cells resist insulin, which leads to high blood sugar seeing as the body’s cells are unable to store it.
High blood sugar and insulin resistance can result in Type 2 Diabetes over time. While it is certainly true that obesity is not the only reason for diabetes and Type 1 diabetes is genetic, obesity is surely a leading cause of it. Now, diabetes in itself comes with a lot of problems. It is connected with a range of ill effects from heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and amputation to blindness.
That being said, it is important to note that diabetes carries with it a lot of myths about being a disease of lazy people or that losing weight means diabetes will go away. So while you should stay warned that obesity may lead to diabetes, keeping in mind that it is not the only cause and that obese people may not always have diabetes is highly important.
5. Effects on the Stomach
The health effects of obesity include the stomach and the entire digestive system. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid escapes into the oesophagus, it causes GERD.
Obesity’s impact on the health of the liver is also that it raises the chance of acquiring gallstones. This is the process through which bile accumulates and hardens in the gallbladder. This may necessitate surgery.
Fat can also accumulate around the liver, causing liver damage, scar tissue, and even liver failure.
6. Effects on the Kidney
Obesity and kidney injury are linked by many means which are well recognised. Obesity has been linked to an increase in urine excretion and an increased chance of developing Kidney stones. (2) Obesity’s impact on health shows in renal replacement treatment and kidney transplantation. Physical compression of the kidneys from the stacking up of adipose tissue around the organs stresses the health problems caused by obesity in the development of renal disease.
7. Effects on the Reproductive System
Health effects of obesity include menstruation abnormalities, infertility, miscarriage, poor pregnancy outcome, reduced foetal well-being, and diabetes mellitus, according to epidemiological studies. Health problems caused by obesity are often linked with an elevated BMI. The introduction of assisted reproduction has highlighted the issues associated with being overweight, and the use of gonadotropins in ovulation induction and in vitro fertilisation is more difficult when the person is overweight. In fact, obesity’s impact on health is so much that losing weight has a significant impact on normalising the menstrual cycle and boosting spontaneous ovulation and conception.
8. Effects on the Muscles
Obesity’s impact on health is perhaps most visible by the effects of obesity on the body. Obesity causes the deterioration of muscle mass. (3) This leads to mobility problems and affects the contraction and relaxation of muscles. The problem is, once the obesity level tips into morbid obesity, the damage done cannot always be undone by simply losing weight.
This is why health problems caused by obesity should be understood to their full extent and steps should be taken to prevent further ill effects of obesity on the body. Effects of obesity on the body affect even those parts of the body that you would think are least important. Even if beauty is not important, keeping your muscles in shape is essential to have better health and fewer complications in the future.
9. Effects on the Bones
Skeletal damages are a part of the health effects of obesity. (3) Obesity may lead to changes in bone-regulating hormones, inflammation and oxidative stress. It leads to a reduction in cells to absorb calcium which leads to the deterioration of bones. What this means is that they are far more likely to get a fracture in a situation where others may have simply gotten a strain or a bruise. It affects bone density negatively and severely affects the health of joints due to an added burden of weight.
10. Effects on the Skin
Obesity greatly affects the barrier and moisturizing functions of the skin. (4) This leads to dryness and roughness of the skin. These effects include skin ulcers, Atopic eczema, skin infections, rashes, excessive stretching, pigmentation, warts and Psoriasis.
The unfortunate reality is that obesity and ageing have similar effects on the body. Simply by gaining weight, your body functions as if it were a much older, aged one. No organ is unaffected by obesity.
At Radiance Hospitals, we care about you. To figure out how to fight this crisis or to help your loved ones do the same, book a consultation with one of our experts and we’ll take it from there. Everything from the right diet, right exercise or anything else- you can leave your worries to us.
Come battle the health effects of obesity with us. And remember: you are never alone.