Obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, which is a high level of fatty acids in the blood, coronary artery disease, arthritis, gallstones, and certain types of cancer.
Major risk factors for heart disease are: • diabetes, • obesity, • hypertension (high blood pressure), • smoking, the # 1 preventable cause of premature death, • hyperlipidemia, which is a high level of fatty acids in the blood, and • a positive family history.
Obesity and Cancer
Excess fatty tissue predisposes men to cancer of the rectum and colon, and prostate cancer..
Women with excess fatty tissue are susceptible to cancer of the gallbladder and uterus. A high percentage of fatty tissue in women may be associated with breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women.
Fat tissue is important in the production of estrogen, and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen increase the risk of breast cancer.
Excess Fatty Tissue and High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).
Hypertension is common among obese adults. A Norwegian study showed that weight gain tended to increase blood pressure in women more significantly than in men. The risk of developing high blood pressure is also higher in obese people who are apple shaped (central obesity) than in people who are pear shaped (fat distribution mainly in hips and thighs).
Obesity and Coronary Heart Disease
Fat deposition that results in an apple shape, that is fat around the middle, is associated with coronary heart disease. This association is stronger than with fat that is deposited around the hips and thighs (pear shape).
The Nurses Health Study found the risk of developing coronary artery disease increased 3 to 4 times in women who had a BMI greater than 29.
A Finnish study showed that for every one kilogram (2.2 pounds) increase in body weight, the risk of death from coronary artery disease increased by one percent. In patients who had a heart attack, obesity is associated with an increased likelihood of a second heart attack.
Obesity has become epidemic. Drug treatment is recommended for those who have secondary causes and who have failed to respond to behavioral and dietary recommendations. The names of several drugs and their recommendations and cautions are given.
Surgery, such as gastric bypass, is recommended only as a last resort. But it can be extremely effective. Such operations carry significant risks, and should be done only by those experienced in such procedures.
For most of us the best treatment for high BMI is diet and exercise.
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