Friday, July 9, 2010

Common Diseases That Are Caused by Obesity

There are regular news reports of our rapidly expanding waist lines and the problems obesity cause. Aside from the social aspect, many of us still ignore it. Worse, some of us take the wrong path to weight loss and end up frustrated and regaining any poundage we've struggled so hard to lose.

Each of the separate diseases below can strike anyone, whether you are at a healthy weight or weigh more than you should. Obesity increases the risk for each.

1) Diabetes: Type two diabetes is almost always associated with obesity. It involves insulin resistance, at least at first. Medications can help you use the insulin produced in your body better, but they have side effects. If sugar levels can't be stabilized by these medications, you may become insulin dependent.

2) Gallstones: There are two ways this painful and potentially life threatening condition can be developed. Being overweight is one. Going on a crash diet is another. Slower weight loss is a better idea, though if you are being treated by lap band or other supervised very low calorie diets, there are things that can be done.

3) Gout: It's a painful form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the blood stream. It forms into crystals that get dropped off into the joints. Those whose weight is higher than the normal range are at higher risk.

4) Heart Disease: Fat and cholesterol deposited in your arteries can cause heart problems. The more you weigh, the more likely you are to develop the problem. This process can also cause high blood pressure and strokes.

5) Osteoarthritis: Wear and tear on the joints is likely to be increased. This problem can start at a much younger age, and be harder to repair. Most insurance companies balk at the idea of doing joint replacement on young people.

6) Sleep Apnea: Without a sleep study, it's hard to diagnose this problem. You may notice that you aren't feeling rested when you wake up, it could be from this problem. If your spouse or other household members tell you that you snore and/or it seems like you stop breathing for several seconds, that's another clue. This condition gets worse with obesity, and it is a life threatening problem.

Most articles or segments on a news program end by saying "so you should eat a healthy, low fat diet and get plenty of exercise." There's more to it than that, and here are some of the things I've found helpful in my own struggles with weight control.

1) Count All the Calories: Write down what you eat. Keeping a food journal is an eye opening affair. I use an on-line calculator that has not only grocery items with nutrition counts, it even has restaurant and frozen entree information. What's even better, this calculator can tell me everything I've burned, so I know when I've had enough to eat or if I should eat more. Don't forget to calculate sleep; you'd be surprised how many you burn.

2) Eat Enough: Your best bet is to keep the deficit at ten percent. Having a drastic difference can lead to several problems. Gallstones are more likely, and it is possible you will even gain some weight. Your blood sugar will also fluctuate dramatically, which is not a good thing...especially if you're diabetic.

3) Exercise: Watching what you eat is important, but you have to get your body moving. Check with your doctor to find out what you can do safely. Choose activities you actually enjoy, and choose more than one so you don't get bored.

4) Avoid Fad Diets: Most of them are another term for crash diets. Some of them can create problems; low carb diets increase your risk of gout and can raise cholesterol levels dramatically.

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