Everywhere you go, there are commercials informing you of the health risks of being obese. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke are thrown at us as scare words with increasing frequency, and there’s a good reason. Approximately 35.7 percent of Americans are considered obese, and another 33 percent are overweight1. While the common side effects are practically ingrained into our minds, there are 5 surprising side effects of obesity that you might not know about. Individuals who are considered obese may have to deal with:
- Higher cancer rates
- Trouble sleeping
Obesity Can Lead to Higher Rates of Cancer
Around 10 percent of all gallbladder, kidney, liver, and colon cancers can be linked back to obesity. Additionally, 41 percent of all uterine cancers can be linked to obesity. Although the exact cause of this increase is not known, researchers believe that the excess fat cells may boost the amount of hormonal activity, which can lead to an increase in tumor growth rates. Individuals who are obese are also more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in the late stages. Obese cancer patients are also more likely to pass away from the disease.
Obesity Can Cause Infertility
Overweight women can have a difficult time getting, and staying, pregnant. 280 out of 300 obese women studied in a recent Indian study had polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is linked to infertility. That’s over 90 percent! Some researchers believe that the excess fatty tissue causes hormonal changes that impact the rates of conception. Other researchers believe that the inflammatory state of obesity may decrease fertility rates by itself.
Obesity Can Lead to Osteoarthritis
Being 10 pounds overweight increases the force on your knees by 30 to 60 pounds with each step. This increases the stress on your knees, and can help hasten the breakdown of cartilage. Additionally, overweight individuals often develop pain in their knees, hips, and lower backs. This pain occurs as the tissue that protects the joints is worn away. A recent study found that overweight women have four times the risk of developing osteoarthritis, and overweight men have five times the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Migraines Can Be Caused By Obesity
Obese individuals are 81 percent more likely to experience episodic migraines, compared to individuals of a healthy weight. They are also more likely to develop chronic migraines. Chronic migraines occur when an individual has at least 15 migraines a month, while episodic migraines occur when an individual has 14 or fewer migraines a month. The increased likelihood of migraines is thought to be causes by the additional fatty tissue, which releases inflammatory substances into the body. Obese women who were 50 years or older were the most likely to suffer headaches and migraines.
Trouble Sleeping? It Might Be Obesity
Around 80 percent of overweight or obese Americans have trouble sleeping, according to a study done by the American Sleep Foundation2. Poor sleep quality contributes to a variety of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and even obesity. One of the main culprits of poor sleep quality in obese individuals is known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the person to gasp or stop breathing momentarily while they are sleeping. The repeated awakenings mean that the person does not get any good sleep. Additionally, sleep apnea strains the lungs and the heart, as they have to work harder to continue working properly.