The Unseen Health Risks of Excess Fat

With 67% of the American population being overweight and 33% being obese, chances are those who carry too much fat are more than just fat, they are indeed unhealthy. Aside from risking hurt feelings, I hope the article brings attention to just how serious excess fat in the body is.

Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Diabetes account for nearly 2 out of EVERY 3 deaths in America! Higher percentages of body fat put people at risk for a number of diseases. These risks rise particularly higher with those who smoke, do not exercise, and have poor nutritional habits. Combined, they present a formidable danger to your health and lead to an earlier death by 10 to 15 years.

Obesity contributes to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, impaired immune system function, gallbladder, kidney and liver disease, earlier death, bone and joint injuries and dysfunction and dementia and mild cognitive impairment which could play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, higher blood pressure is linked to heart failure, aneurysm, mini-stroke, sexual dysfunction, sleeping disorders, bone loss and kidney damage. All of this and more generally occurring in the last 10 years of your life!

For years, fat was viewed as stored energy. Research has shown, however, that fat (particularly the layer of fat beneath the abdominal muscles or VAT Fat) acts as a rogue endocrine system, which helps regulate mood, appetite, growth and development, tissue function and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproduction. In general, the endocrine system is in charge of slow system functions which happen at the cellular level through the release of hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that tell cells what to do in conjunction with other cells. It’s a line of communication and instructions.

In individuals who are overweight, and especially obese, the fat now acts as its own endocrine system, causing the release of additional hormones into the body. Instead of merely communicating cell function, hormones are now causing the body to over-ride normal cell function and growth.

Using appetite as an example (and there are hundreds) we can identify possible pathways created by obesity. Because of obesity, fat blocks the signals to the brain to tell you you’re full, so you eat more. Furthermore, it sends signals to want to eat low nutritional, high fat foods. This causes the digestive system to spill even more toxins into the body (it’s this toxic state that can make fat weight loss seemingly impossible regardless of what you try) resulting in inflammation in the body. This impairs management of glucose and insulin, which leads to diabetes. The inflammation also contributes to heart disease and high blood pressure. This impairment to the hypothalamus is also directly linked to liver, kidney and gallbladder disease. The longer this goes on the more change in your DNA with the end result being cancer. In fact, in 2 to 3 years, obesity will be the number one cause of cancer in this country!

Many of the risks, even in this over-simplified example, can be reversed and avoided. Keep in mind, if this issue is something you too deal with, multiple systems are effected by obesity and your health will be affected unless you take action. With as many products, information and bogus nutritional supplements in this industry, it is a confusing arena for consumers. There has never been anything proven as effective as proper nutrition, regular exercise and stress management for weight loss and the long-term management of weight. I used the term “Unseen” health risk because far too often those who are chronically obese often resist action due to the absence of “feeling” sick. The question, however, is how long should one put off taking action? After a stroke or heart attack? After losing eyesight or a foot to diabetes? Take action now! At the very least, change your lifestyle to prevent the further degeneration of your or your loved one’s health. You CAN make changes to improve your health and wellness. You first have to make the choice.

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