Like most chronic illnesses, obesity effects are harmful to your long-term health. Since 34% of American women fall into the obesity category, it’s important to understand the short and long term consequences of obesity and some of the best tools for treatment and prevention.
Short Term Obesity Effects
Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. People with this extreme amount of additional weight may suffer from the following short term effects due to their size:
- Difficulty standing and walking
- Shortness of breath during routine activities
- Problems with breathing during sleep as well as difficulty sleeping
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Increased joint aches and pains
- Gestational diabetes in pregnant women
- Blood clots during pregnancy
- Fertility issues including a reduction in ovulation
- Increase in the need for c-section deliveries
Long Term Obesity Effects
While the initial discomforts and health problems associated with obesity may seem inconvenient and unpleasant for sufferers, the long term risk factors are quite serious. Over time, obesity sufferers are at high risk for the following health concerns:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Sleep apnea
- Type II diabetes
- some cancers, including breast cancer
In addition to these long-term personal health risks for obesity sufferers themselves, pregnant women with obesity issues have elevated risks for long-term health concerns for their unborn babies. Those health risks include an increased chance of miscarriages and birth defects including Spina Bifida–the leading cause of childhood paralysis.
Solutions for Treatment and Prevention
Although genetics and medical illness can play a role in obesity, in many cases, diet and lack of exercise are key causes of the disease. The good news is that diet and exercise are controllable factors that can play a huge role in preventing and treating obesity!
In many cases, obesity is a curable illness where the success rates can be high–specifically when the participant’s motivation is also high. The more willing the patient is to follow recommended treatment, the better the outcome. Treatment plans include some or even all of the following therapies:
- Exercise therapy – Science has found that a sedentary lifestyle is a key factor in obesity. By incorporating cardiovascular and strength training exercises with an increase in daily physical exercise, obese patients can jump start their metabolism and weight loss quickly.
- Dietary therapy – Science has linked diets high in salt, fat and sugar to obesity. In addition, oversized portions contribute heavily to obesity. By replacing sugar, salt and fat with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, dietary therapy can improve both short term and long term health risks quickly. In addition, the reduced calorie and fat diet will help the body burn more of its fat stores for energy.
- Behavorial therapy – In some obesity cases, unresolved emotional issues can lead to overeating. Keeping a food journal of what you eat and when can help pinpoint those areas for resolution with a trained therapist.
- Medication/supplemental therapy – In some cases your physician or nutritionist can suggest medications, herbs or supplements that can be helpful in losing weight and boosting metabolism.
In very severe cases, obesity surgery can be successful, when recommended by a trained physician.