The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight
Cynthia Luo, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist
It was at age 14 when it occurred to me that there was a connection between being overweight and having high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Since then, I have personally worked to maintain as healthy a body weight as possible.
I also realized how much easier it is to gain weight than to lose it. When I had gained weight, I had less energy, less mobility and flexibility and found that shortness of breath came quicker. There again was the connection between a healthy body weight and better health in general. We live in a time where there is an abundance of food choices, both good and not-so-good. There are many health issues that can be related to being overweight and that can lead to even more serious health conditions. Here is a list of some of those issues/conditions:
High Blood Pressure: HBP can lead to further health issues such as Stroke, Heart Attack and Kidney Failure.
Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity may cause the body to be resistant to insulin.
Fatty Liver Disease: Can damage your liver and create scarring. In severe cases, this scarring can lead to liver failure.
Cancer: Obesity may increase the risk of cancer in the liver, kidney, colon, esophageal and pancreas.
Gallbladder Disease: Obesity contributes to this condition and gallstones (which can occur with rapid weight loss).
Weak Muscles: Weight can affect the normal function of muscles, including mobility, strength, postural and dynamic balance.
Osteoporosis: Extra body weight may be a risk factor for this frail bone disease.
Joint Pain: Excess weight puts extra pressure on the joints, particularly on the lower back, hips, knees, ankles. This may lead to joint pain and decreased flexibility.
Mental Health: Obesity may cause depression, stress, sadness and anxiety.
Sleep Apnea: Due to narrowing of the airways, by the fatty tissues, breathing may be affected.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: GERD is stomach acid that leaks into the esophagus.
Skin Issues: May include rashes, discoloration, thickening of the skin, etc.
Infertility: Overweight and obese women are at a high risk for reproductive health.
Gout: Caused by an increase of uric acid in the bloodstream, commonly affecting joints.
This list is an extensive one but demonstrates the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight. It will not only ward off many of these health conditions but the associated costs of healthcare and medical expenses. These are all factors of obesity and can be less of a risk with a healthy diet and body weight. It can give you more flexibility and freedom of movement which can in turn give you a happier state of mind.