8 Ways Obesity Can Kill You

By Victoria Simpson on May 30 2020 in Science

Doctor measuring the waistline of a woman. Image credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.com
Doctor measuring the waistline of a woman. Image credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.com
  • Over 640 million people are obese in the world.
  • Being obese can take eight years off your life.
  • Worldwide, 15% of women are obese as well as 11% of men.

The human race is growing larger in number and in individual size with every passing year. In some parts of the world food scarcity is a difficult part of life, but in developed countries easy access to large quantities of food, as well as changes in diet and lifestyle has resulted in many people becoming obese.

What does it mean, exactly, to be obese? The WHO defines this chronic disease as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a person's weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in metres).”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide about 15% of women are obese, as are 11% of men. The organization estimates that about 600 million people in the world are technically obese, and a further 1 billion adults are now overweight.  The world is now home to over 640 million people who are obese, and there are more people who are overweight than underweight.

According to a report on NBCNews.com, researchers have found the condition in its most severe form can take up to eight years off your lifespan. 

It is never safe for anyone to live for many years with vast excess weight on their frame. Here are eight medical conditions and diseases that you are more likely to get if you are obese, presenting eight ways obesity could actually be a death sentence.

8. Cardiovascular Disease

Obesity increases the chances of heart attacks. Image credit: Creativa Images/Shutterstock.com
Obesity increases the chances of heart attacks. Image credit: Creativa Images/Shutterstock.com

If you are obese you have a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease. This can surface as coronary heart disease or heart failure. The increased inflammation that accompanies obesity is said to result in cardiac dysfunction, as it promotes the formation of something called atherosclerotic plaques in your body. This plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to harden and become more narrow, which can result in heart failure or a heart attack.

7. Endometrial Cancer

According to the US National Cancer Institute, people who are obese have a greater chance of developing certain cancers. This is due to a multitude of factors. People who are obese often suffer from low levels of chronic inflammation which can lead to DNA damage that causes cancer. In addition, fat tissues produce high amounts of estrogen, which has been linked with some cancers, as are increases in blood insulin levels and hormones levels,     three things that people who are obese often suffer from.  

Obese women have a higher chance of developing endometrial cancer, or cancer of the lining of the uterus. The National Cancer Institute’s website states that women who are obese and overweight are about two to four times as likely to develop endometrial cancer.

Women who are extremely obese are actually about seven times as likely as normal-weight women to develop this cancer.

6. Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

This cancer is one that targets the tube that travels from your throat to your stomach. This tube carries your food into your body. If you are overweight or obese, you are twice as likely to develop esophageal adenocarcinoma, and for those who are extremely obese, your chances of developing it quadruple.

5. Liver Cancer

According to several studies, fast food is one of the top causes of obesity. Image credit: Amani A/Shutterstock.com
According to several studies, fast food is one of the top causes of obesity. Image credit: Amani A/Shutterstock.com

You are also twice as likely to develop liver cancer if you are obese. Men who are obese are more likely to develop this cancer than women. Sadly, the five-year survival rate for liver cancer is between 11% and 33%. Like other types of cancer, this one is more deadly if it has already spread to surrounding tissues and organs and has traveled from your liver around your body.

4. Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is a difficult cancer to detect as it often causes no symptoms in its early stages. According to the Mayo Clinic there are no routine tests used to detect kidney cancer, and so many patients do not catch their illness early on. Some signs of kidney cancer include unexplained weight loss, pain in your back or side, a loss of appetite, feeling tired, a fever that comes and goes, and blood in your urine. People who are obese are about twice as likely to develop renal cancer, the most common type of kidney cancer.

3. Meningioma

Meningioma is a slow-growing brain tumor that presents itself in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. People who are obese are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer. This type of cancer does have a high five-year survival rate, but it can still be deadly, nonetheless.

2. Stroke

According to World-Stroke.org, being obese is one of the top ten risk factors associated with having a stroke. A stroke happens when a blood clot or a haemorrhage causes the blood supply to be cut off in part of your brain. A stroke can be minor or major, and while it does not always kill a person, a large one can. 

People who are obese have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. All of these factors increase your chances of suffering from a stroke.

1. Type 2 Diabetes

Doctor making blood sugar test in clinic for diabetes. Image credit: Proxima Studio/Shutterstock.com
Doctor making blood sugar test in clinic for diabetes. Image credit: Proxima Studio/Shutterstock.com

Last but not least, suffering from type 2 diabetes is something that is more likely to happen if you are obese, and it can also be deadly. 

Diabetes on its own is often treatable but if you live with this disease, it significantly increases your risk of developing other potentially deadly problems such as kidney failure, heart failure, and stroke. People who develop type 2 diabetes can no longer use their blood sugar efficiently for energy, as their body becomes insensitive to insulin. 

According to Diabetes UK, obesity is believed to be the reason behind 80-85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  People who are obese are thought to be up to 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with people who have a BMI that is less than 22. In these ways, obesity and diabetes are linked, and it is not good news. 

Being obese is increasingly common in the world. While you can live for many years this way, it is likely that some health problems will catch up with you if you continue to be obese, and some of these could potentially endanger your life. Adopting a healthier lifestyle that cuts down on your fat and sugar intake, and increases the amount of legumes, fruits and vegetables you eat, as well as the amount of daily exercise you get, can cause you to lose weight, and enjoy a more rewarding and longer life. 

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