What is Obesity?
Excess deposition of fat in the body makes a person obese. In other words, when a person’s Body Mass Index exceeds 30, the person is obese. Obesity has become one of the most common health disorders in recent years. According to a recent survey, 2.8 million people across the globe fall prey to obesity every year. There are many health risks associated with obesity, but the cardiovascular system of the body is the most affected.
Factors leading to Obesity
Not exercising regularly and carrying on with a sedentary lifestyle majorly contributes to obesity. Usually, people who require to sit for long hours of work are more prone to obesity and other risk factors associated with it.
Unhealthy eating habits
Too much consumption of deep-fried, processed food items causes obesity and high cholesterol levels in the body. Alcohol and beverages with added sugar also lead to gaining unhealthy and excess weight. (Also Read: 15 Food you thought were healthy but actually aren’t!)
People who have a family history of obesity are more prone to it. People who have a genetic factor of obesity are also at high risk of developing heart disorders.
Stress and anxiety
These two factors directly affect the mood and the appetite of the person. People who have a tendency of stress-eating gain excess weight easily. (Also Read: Is your work making you obese? Know how to cope with it)
Not getting enough sleep
Sleep deprivation is yet another neglected factor that triggers a hormonal imbalance in the body. People who sleep for less than 6 -7 hours or have irregular sleep patterns, easily gain excess weight.
Let’s look at the most prevailing health risks caused by obesity:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Fertility disorders (Also Read: Obesity And Fertility Risks In Women)
- Sleep apnea (irregular breathing)
- Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)/Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Obesity and Heart Diseases
The more obese you are, the more prone you become to cardiovascular or heart diseases. The major reason behind this is the excess of cholesterol that damages and obstructs the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels, and blood).
The major heart problems that obesity causes are:
Coronary Heart Disease
In coronary heart disease, blood vessels that supply blood to the heart get damaged due to the deposition of cholesterol and calcium (atherosclerosis). This makes the arteries narrow and affects the blood flow. When the plaque breaks down and forms a clot, it stops the blood flow that can result in a complicated life and death situation.
If you are obese, you should be more cautious about your heart’s health. Signs that indicate for coronary heart disease are:
- Facing difficulty in breathing
- Frequent headache
- Acute chest pain
- Swelling of limbs
When you experience these signs and symptoms, immediately get in touch with a cardiologist. Avail proper treatment for coronary heart disease as leaving it untreated can be life-threatening.
Sudden headache and numbing of the legs resulting in lightheadedness is called a stroke. A stroke occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood due to a blood clot in the arteries. Stroke directly indicates coronary artery disease marked by damaged arteries (atherosclerosis) and blood clots formed by disintegration (coronary thrombosis). Stroke again is a result of excess cholesterol in the body and obese people are automatically more prone to it.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease in which the heart muscles have to work hard to pump the blood across the entire body (muscular abnormality of the heart).
Symptoms to identify Cardiomyopathy are:
- Sudden pressure on the chest
- Flickering heartbeats
- Dizziness and nausea
When the symptoms of cardiomyopathy are left untreated, it further increases the risk of developing heart failure. Sometimes the symptoms of cardiomyopathy can be so severe that the person may even die suddenly.
Heart failure is yet another major health issue caused by obesity. It occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body. It happens when the heart does not receive sufficient blood due to plaque deposits on the coronary arteries. Heart failure needs immediate medical attention as it can potentially lead to a heart attack.
How to identify heart failure?
The identifying symptoms of heart failure are:
- Breathlessness on lying down
- Coughing and wheezing
- Swelling in the body, especially limbs
- Appetite loss
- Chest Pain/ Angina
- Frequent urination at night (Nocturia)
- Irregular heartbeats
- Swelling in the abdominal area
- Coughing out the foamy mucus
- Falling unconscious for sometime
Obesity is the primary cause of the above-mentioned heart or cardiovascular diseases. Maintain healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle to get rid of obesity and the heart risks associated with it.