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The Risks of Obesity: Your Heart, Inflammation, and What to Do About It

by Dr. David Minkoff October 08, 2020 5 min read 0 Comments

The Risks of Obesity: Your Heart, Inflammation, and What to Do About It

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the CDC, approximately 40% of adults in the USA suffer from obesity, and this number has been on the rise over the last several decades. According to a recent study, obesity is the leading cause of preventable death in the USA.

When you put numbers to that, we are talking about over 70 million Americans – and another 99 million who are overweight, possibly on the path to becoming obese. Over $100 billion is spent each year on healthcare for obesity-related health conditions.

This is, by far, one of the most significant factors in American health today.

Most people are aware that obesity significantly increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but there are many other risk factors associated with excess weight – including a weakened immune system.

And no, we are not trying to body shame anyone who is curvier or rounder than the social norm on Instagram – you can look attractive regardless of your body shape. At BodyHealth, our goal is to help you feel and look your best, be in excellent health, and have the freedom to live your life to the fullest, and that means speaking some hard truths on occasion.

[1,2]

Understanding Obesity

According to the CDC, there are several classifications of weight based on your body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated by comparing your height and your weight, and it breaks down into the following categories:

BMI

Weight Status

Below 18.5

Underweight

Between 18.5 and 24.9

Normal

Between 25.0 and 29.9

Overweight

Between 30.0 and 39.9

Obese

40.0 and above

Extremely obese

To calculate your BMI, you can use the adult BMI calculator or the child BMI calculator offered by the CDC – which will give you an immediate idea of where you stand.

Of course, you must take the idea of BMI with a grain of salt. Athletes and gym junkies tend to weigh more than a “normal” weight but are extremely healthy – so you cannot take BMI from an online calculator at face value.

[3]

How obesity affects your health

Obesity impacts almost every aspect of your health. It places your body in a state of chronic inflammation and significantly increases your risk of developing many life-altering and deadly diseases.

Obesity and Inflammation

According to Gökhan Hotamisligil, the chairman of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, obesity is essentially an inflammatory disease. In a recent publication, he stated:

“You’re activating the immune system without a legitimate pathogen. You’re constantly activating your immune system at a low level in such a way that it releases chemicals that start contributing to inflammation.”

Chronic inflammation is itself a precursor to severe physiological and neurodegenerative disorders.

[4,5]

Obesity and Your Heart

Excess fat cells stored throughout your body require added blood flow and increased circulation, which puts extra stress on your heart and leads to high blood pressure – the leading cause of stroke in the USA. It is also linked to high LDL (bad cholesterol), which results in plaque buildup in your arteries, restricting blood flow and dramatically raising your risk for a heart attack.

Obesity is also a leading cause of diabetes, as it greatly increases the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, hormones, glycerol, fatty acids, and other substances that are known to trigger insulin resistance. Excess fat in your abdominal area is a particularly high-risk form of obesity.

Statistically speaking, men and women who suffer from obesity are up to 80 times more likely to develop type II diabetes.

[6,7]

Risks Associated with Diabetes

According to the CDC and other leading research groups, those who suffer from obesity are significantly more likely to experience or contract one or more of the following life-threatening conditions:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Type II diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Over 15 forms of cancer
  • Depression, anxiety, and other forms of poor mental health
  • Pain and lethargy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Back pain

Sadly, many of these conditions are becoming increasingly common among younger people as obesity rates rise in our youth.

[8,9]

Even a few pounds can make a difference

Now, you might be reading this and think, “well, I might have a few extra pounds, but I’m not obese, so these risks don’t apply to me.” While there is some truth to this, research has revealed that being even 10 pounds overweight can significantly impact your health and raise your risk of developing various health conditions.

In fact, studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between an increase in BMI and an increase in health risks. According to a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine that evaluated over 150,000 individuals, some astonishing risk factors were identified. Women with a BMI between 22 and 24.9 (which is still in the normal range) have DOUBLE the risk of diabetes compared to women with a BMI of between 18.5 and 21.9. These same BMI levels come with a 40% increased risk for high blood pressure and a 30% increased risk of high cholesterol and colon cancer.

Again, BMI is not the only index that matters – athletes and people in excellent shape can have a “high BMI” as the result of high muscle density and muscle mass. If you are not an athlete and you have some extra pounds, you are likely very aware of it and are trying to do something about it.

[10]

How YOU Can Lose Weight Today

Losing weight is not always easy.

It can be a serious challenge to drop the excess fat and get your body into shape. There are hundreds of popular diets that all claim to work miracles, but the truth is that every person is unique – and what works for one may not work for another.

That being said, there are two factors that apply to everyone, and that can help you lose weight and stay healthy:

  • Eat healthy foods: A diet rich in vegetables and protein, but low in processed carbs can provide your body with the nutrition it needs without the excess calories that get stored as fat.
  • Exercise each day: Even 30 minutes per day of exercise can make a significant impact on your energy levels, physique, BMI, and overall health. You don’t need to transform into a gym junkie overnight or start training for an Ironman triathlon – you can simply go jogging or running, do some at-home workouts, and take on the problem in easy steps that you are comfortable with.

There are also many advanced nutritional products available that help to support your body’s natural metabolism of fat, such as Healthy-Thin Energize from BodyHealth. You may also benefit from our Optimum Weight Management Program, which is designed to help you sustainably lose up to 20 pounds within 23 days.

Whatever you do, every effort you make toward achieving a healthy, normal weight for your body supports your health – it is not just a point of vanity!


References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db360.htm
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20117569/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/gokhan-hotamisligil/contact/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885768/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259868/
  7. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-obesity.html
  8. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html
  9. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/overweight-and-obesity
  10. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/648604
Dr. David Minkoff
Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then worked as an attending physician in infectious disease, co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine until 1995. In 1997, his interest in alternative and complementary medicine led him to open LifeWorks Wellness Center, which has become one of the foremost alternative medicine clinics in the U.S. His search to find a source of the highest quality nutritional supplements led him to establish BodyHealth in 2000, a resource that could provide doctors with the best possible supplementation and education for their patients. Today, the BodyHealth products are used by hundreds of practitioners and individual consumers who seek all-natural wellness and detoxification supplements with a demonstrated high level of quality and effectiveness. In addition to their use by patients looking to heal disease, the BodyHealth products are also used by sports enthusiasts interested in achieving and maintaining optimal performance. As a 42-time Ironman triathlon finisher, (including 8 appearances at the Ironman World Championships) Dr. Minkoff has first-hand experience to help athletes achieve optimum conditioning. His expertise in protein synthesis, detoxification, and nutrition allow them to run, swim, and bike faster and longer. Today, Dr. Minkoff is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer, writer, tv and radio show guest. He also authors two weekly newsletters, the BodyHealth Fitness Newsletter and the Optimum Health Report.



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