Loss and Its Health Benefits
While for many people the motivation to
lose weight has a lot to do with improving their body image, fitting back into their previous clothes and feeling
more confident, for others it relates to improving their health. Everyone who is overweight and then loses weight
can achieve significant health benefits, which does not even require them to reach their ideal body weight; usually
a 5-10% weight loss that can be maintained is enough to substantially reduce the risk of developing chronic
diseases associated with carrying excess weight. Here we look at five of the conditions that can potentially be
prevented through weight loss.
Type 2 diabetes
In the United States 25.6 million
adults have diabetes and that number is quickly growing. Although there are a range of risk factors for developing
type 2 diabetes, one of the major contributors that increases the risk of developing this form of diabetes is being
overweight, and particularly if this excess weight is carried around your waist; this prevents insulin – the
hormone that the body releases to lower levels of sugar in the blood – from working as effectively, so blood sugar
levels remain high. Although the most common symptoms of diabetes might be thought of as increased thirst,
urination and tiredness, it can present in other ways such as wounds taking a long time to heal or erectile
dysfunction in men, requiring them to buy Sildenafil. As many as 7 million Americans might be walking round with diabetes not even
realising that they have it, which is a serious problem, as if left untreated diabetes can lead to blindness and
damage to the kidneys, nerves and circulation. Weight loss not only reduces the risk of developing diabetes, but helps to improve blood sugar control in
those people who already have diabetes; being more physically active – a key for weight loss – can also
independently reduce the risk of developing diabetes and improve blood sugars.
The leading cause of death amongst
adults in the United States is heart disease. Being overweight doesn’t just put extra strain on the heart, but it can lead
to increased blood pressure, cholesterol levels and means that the blood is more likely to clot, all of which
are risk factors for a heart attack. While these risk factors can be controlled through the use of medications,
it is preferable to prevent these conditions from developing in the first place by losing weight and paying more
close attention to what you eat and how much you exercise. Reducing intake of foods high in fat such as the use
of oil in cooking, the fat on meat, full fat dairy produce, pies, snack foods – the likes of crisps, chocolate
and cakes - and take-outs will help reduce calories, but has a positive impact on cholesterol levels too;
cutting back on the salty foods listed should also lower blood pressure.
In the United States, for women, breast
cancer and colorectal cancer are among the three most commonly occurring cancers and the risk of developing either
of them is increased by being overweight; colorectal cancer is also one of the three most common cancers to affect
men. While a family history of the disease can increase the risk of breast cancer, three-quarters of the risk of
developing breast cancer is linked to lifestyle, so losing weight, being more active and drinking alcohol in
moderation can have a big impact on reducing the likelihood of developing the disease. There are a lot of factors
thought to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, many of which are related to lifestyle. However, there is good
evidence that losing weight, taking regular exercise and following a diet high in fibre, fruit and vegetables, but
low in processed meats can significantly reduce the chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Arthritis and back pain are the most
commonly reported medical conditions in the United States. Carrying extra weight is a major contributor to
osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, ankle and foot, due to the extra wear and tear these joints receive as a result.
Although arthritis can’t be cured, its symptoms can be controlled by pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
However, losing weight and taking more exercise – even if you have to take a little and often approach – can help
significantly with symptom control and prevent occurrence of arthritis.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the
most commonly occurring hormonal abnormality seen in women in the United States and the majority of women who
present with it are overweight. It is accompanied by irregular menstrual cycles and a lot of women struggle to
conceive. Losing weight in PCOS helps to normalize hormone levels, which in turn improves fertility. Even women
without PCOS who have fertility problems usually benefit from weight loss and this is encouraged before they
explore the option of IVF.