Weight Management Home: Basics
Benefits of Losing Weight
There is a strong relationship between your personal sense of involvement and investment in weight loss and the potential for succeeding on any weight loss plan. One way to increase your sense of investment in this issue is to learn how losing will reduce your risk of having some health problems that we all would like to avoid.
Reduce Health Risks by Losing Weight
Prevent Twin Killers--Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability for both men and women in the United States. Overweight people are more likely to have:
- High Blood Pressure. This is a major risk factor for both heart disease and stroke.
- Very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). These can also lead to heart disease and are linked to being overweight.
- Angina. Being overweight can also contribute to this problem that involves chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart.
- Sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.
Reducing your weight by 5-10 percent can decrease your chance of developing heart disease or having a stroke. You can improve your heart function, blood pressure and your levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
Losing Weight Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are associated with long-term complications that threaten life and the quality of life. If you’re overweight, you are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) as people who aren’t overweight. You can reduce your chances of getting this disease by losing weight and by increasing your physical activity.
If you do have the disease, losing weight and getting exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels. It may even reduce the amount of medication that you need.
Reduce Your Risk of Some Kinds of Cancer
There are several kinds of cancer associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk for developing cancer of the colon, rectum and prostate. It isn’t clear yet whether the increased risk is due to the extra weight or to a high-fat, high-calorie diet.
Your best bet to reduce the risk of these weight-associated cancers is to lose weight if you need to and to increase your exercise.
Weight Loss Improves Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition associated with being overweight. It can cause you to stop breathing for short periods and to snore heavily. Sleep apnea can make you sleepy in the daytime and cause heart failure. Losing weight can reduce or eliminate this problem.
Reduce Osteoarthritis, the Pain of Being Overweight
This is a joint disorder that affects the joints in your knees, hips and lower back. Extra weight increases the risk of this disease because there is more pressure on these joints. Weight loss can decrease the stress and improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Get Rid of Gout
Gout is a joint disease caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. This painful disease is more common among people who are overweight. It’s important to know that some diets (e.g. high protein diet) can trigger gout attacks, so if you have a history of the disease, check with your doctor before trying to lose weight.
Eliminate Gallbladder Grief
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight, although it isn’t clear yet how being overweight causes gallbladder problems.
Rapid weight loss can actually increase the chance of developing gallstones, so remember that the watchwords for weight loss are “slow and steady.”
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