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Health Risks Associated With Obesity and Overweight

Every year the numbers of people who are overweight even obese continue to rise. Over 50 million people in the United States are overweight, with over 30 million of them being obese. Out of those numbers over 4 million are considered morbidly obese.

Being overweight or obese increases a persons risk factor to many disease processes. One of the biggest risks for adults and children who are overweight is developing type II diabetes. This was once a disease that was only seen in adults. Now with so many children being obese, the numbers of children and teenagers with type II diabetes is growing every year as well. Obese children will more than likely become obese adults. They can severely limit their lifespan as they will tend to develop life threatening diseases that obese people are prone to at a very early age.

Most obese people have high cholesterol levels. This puts them at higher risk of developing cardiovascular and heart disease. They are also more prone to having heart attacks and strokes. Other problems that obese people face are the increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension.

Now clinical research has shown that people who are obese are much more likely to be at risk for cancer as well. The study specifically showed that people who were overweight were at more risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast, endometrial, esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder and the kidney. This also held true for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myelomas. A study reported by the American Cancer Society and was performed starting in 1982 and ending in 1998 showed that men who were overweight or obese contracted cancer and their death rates that were 52% higher than men of normal weight. Women in this same study had cancer caused death rates which were 62% higher for cancer death than women who were of normal weight. The conclusion of the study was that increased body weight was responsible for increased death rates for all of the cancers combined and also for cancers at many specific sites of the body.

In addition to the risks of cancer, most of these diseases are very serious. Any of them can cause premature death. Being overweight puts a strain on the heart and the lungs to work due to all the added weight that the body is carrying around. Blood vessels can become weak due to hypertension, decreased blood flow from the heart, or clots that form. All forms of cardiovascular disease are very prevalent in obese people.

Blood clots are also a real concern for anyone but especially those who are obese. Blood components combine with the plaque and other debris in the blood vessel walls and form a blood clot. If this clot then breaks away from the wall of the artery, it can travel to the brain and cause a stroke or to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. Strokes can result in partial or full paralysis of the extremities, loss of speech, decreased mental ability such as memory problems, or other body functions that are controlled in the brain.

Other risks that are associated with obesity would be complications of diabetes. People who are diabetic are more prone to heart and cardiovascular disease. Being overweight may double or triple their risk if diabetic. They are also at risk of kidney disease which can result in kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy which can lead to blindness and peripheral neuropathy. Diabetics that are overweight run a much higher risk of premature death than people who are of normal weight do.

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