The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 93.3 million women and men in the United States are obese. You’re obese if your body mass index (BMI) is over 30 and overweight if your BMI ranges between 25 and 30. (Don’t know your BMI? Find it here.)
Being overweight or obese both pose serious health risks. Even where you carry your excess fat may negatively affect your health. For instance, fat that collects around your abdomen raises your risk for obesity-related health complications.
When you store fat in your abdomen, it may also wrap around your organs. This kind of fat, known as visceral fat, disrupts the healthy function of your endocrine and immune systems and can cause inflammation that’s associated with a number of diseases.
At Pure Medicine in Dallas and Frisco, Texas, we conduct a thorough physical examination to determine your fat distribution and optimal BMI, take a complete medical and family history, and order necessary blood tests and other tests.
By custom-designing a medically supervised weight-loss program based on our findings, we help you avoid the health complications that can accompany being overweight and obese, such as:
Metabolic syndrome consists of a group of risk factors that increase your chance of developing a health condition or disease. Your doctor diagnoses you with metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the following risk factors:
The National Institutes of Health predicts that metabolic syndrome may soon overtake smoking as a leading cause of heart disease in the United States due to rising obesity rates. Metabolic syndrome usually can be prevented with lifestyle changes.
Risk factors such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, visceral fat, high triglycerides, and low LDL cholesterol — alone or together — also make it harder for your heart to work optimally.
Belly fat may also be a sign that your body’s producing and releasing the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can damage your blood vessels and lead to plaque buildup within the vessels (a condition known as atherosclerosis), which may trigger a heart attack or stroke.
A diet that’s too high in sugar and low in healthy vegetables and fruits can lead to Type 2 diabetes. If you develop Type 2 diabetes, your pancreas no longer produces enough of the hormone insulin or can’t utilize it efficiently. Without insulin, the sugar in your blood from your diet (i.e., glucose) can’t get into your cells to fuel them.
High levels of circulating glucose negatively affects your organs’ health. You can develop nerve damage, kidney damage, and eye damage, among other conditions. Untreated diabetes can even lead to limb loss and blindness.
Caught early, you may be able to control your diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet and more exercise. Your Pure Medicine doctor may also recommend medications to keep your blood glucose at healthy levels.
Being overweight or obese adds extra stress to your joints, which can cause arthritis, gout, and other joint discomfort or conditions. When you take a step, you exert 1.5 times your body weight on your joints and surrounding tissues. Being overweight also increases your risk for inflammation, which may affect the joints in your hands and feet, too.
Being overweight can cause or exacerbate a common sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. A large neck, tongue, or tonsils may block your airway when you sleep, causing you to stop breathing for seconds at a time. Untreated sleep apnea may lead to heart attack and stroke, and may also result in insomnia, dangerous daytime fatigue, and depression.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 8% of all cancers and 7% of all cancer deaths in the US are linked to being overweight or obese. Being overweight increases your risk for cancers of the:
If you want to achieve a healthier weight, the experts at Pure Medicine help with individually tailored medically supervised weight-loss programs. We conduct a full metabolic workup to identify and improve any underlying conditions that contribute to your excess weight. Therapies may include dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and FDA-approved medications.