Sunday December 17th 2017

The Obesity Time Bomb – Why a Big Belly is Bad for Your Health

A big belly – excess body fat stored around the belly area – increases the risk of ill-health. Quite simply you increase your risk of developing some or all of the following medical conditions. These risks are increased significantly if your waist circumference is over 40 inches. So if you are apple-shaped – watch out.

  • Heart disease, including heart attack and angina
  • Stroke
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Gall stones
  • Some cancers, particularly bowel cancer and prostate cancer
  • Osteoarthritis, especially of the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. One pound of fat around the belly puts ten pounds of pressure on the hips and knees. So, if you are carrying 10 pounds of excess fat around your belly, this will put pressure of 100 pounds on your weight-bearing joints.
  • High blood pressure. Every extra pound of fat you have needs a blood supply. If you were to get all the tiny thread-like blood vessels supplying that pound of fat and stretch them out into an imaginary line, you would have an extra mile. So if you are 3 stone overweight this means your heart has to pump blood an extra 42 miles every time it beats. You can see how this can cause your blood pressure to go up over time.
  • Sleep apnoea syndrome. This is where snorers develop pauses or absences in their breathing due to effects on the breathing centre in the brain. Obesity is a big risk factor.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease buy Viagra Australia online (heartburn). This is where acid comes back up the food pipe from the stomach, causing belching, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Higher complication rates from surgery, including wound infection, chest infection and clotting in the legs (deep vein thrombosis). Operations such as hip replacement surgery can be more difficult.
  • Diabetes. In simple terms the pancreas gland, which is the organ responsible for regulating blood sugar levels through the production of insulin, becomes burnt out through shear overwork. Symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, thirst and urinating more frequently. In middle-aged men diabetes can be present for several years before a diagnosis is made. So if you are overweight and have any of these symptoms consult your family doctor.
  • Metabolic syndrome – this is where a person has a group of risk factors that significantly increase their risk of diabetes and heart disease. If you have at least three of the following features then you have metabolic syndrome:
    • a waist circumference greater than 40 inches
    • raised blood pressure (greater than 130 over 85)
    • raised fasting blood sugar (an indication of diabetes)
    • raised blood fat (triglycerides) levels
    • low levels of HDL cholesterol

The presence of any three of the above-listed factors diagnoses metabolic syndrome, which means you are at increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke or all three.

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