People who are looking to lose weight tend to be focused on cosmetic reasons. Looking thin will build your confidence and help you fit into that little black dress you see tantalizing you at the mall. However, there are a number of health benefits that come with losing weight as well and, conversely, there is a host of diseases that are caused by or made more likely because of obesity. Plus, it’s a difference you can feel. When you start to lose weight it’s likely that you’ll have more energy and feel generally better.

Weight loss through diet and exercise can lower your risk of experiencing a wide range of diseases including a number of potentially fatal ones. Here are just a few of the potential health risks that could come from obesity:

Coronary Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one threat to people in the US and around the world. Heart disease includes a number of health problems such as:

  • Heart attack, or when oxygen-rich blood is blocked from entering a part of the heart. Oxygen isn’t restored quickly, that part of the heart begins to die. This can happen when a build-up of waxy plaque causes pressure that breaks the artery wall. When clot forms, it can partially or totally block off the artery which deprives oxygen to that part of the heart.
  • Angina, which is when plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart. Resulting angina is a pain in the heart that signals a potential heart disease issue.
  • Heart failure can also be a result of obesity. This is when the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Heart disease is one of the deadlier complications that come with obesity. While it can take a long time to build up a dangerous amount of plaque, heart complications can often happen without warning.

Stroke

Strokes take the fourth spot on the top causes of death for Americans. A stroke occurs when oxygen-rich blood is unable to properly flow into the brain, causing brains cells in the affected area to die. There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes occur when the artery that supplies the brain with blood is blocked and hemorrhagic is when the artery ruptures and leaks. Again, obesity leads to a buildup of plaque which causes these blockages and your risk of having a stroke rises with your body mass index.

Diabetes

Obesity is a big factor in increasing your risk of type-2 diabetes. Diabetes is when the blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are too high. Normally the body produces a hormone called insulin which converts glucose into energy but with an overabundance of glucose, the body can’t produce enough insulin to manage your blood sugar. Diabetes can cause death, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.

While these aren’t the only medical complications that can come with obesity, they are among the most serious. Since your BMI is often directly related to your risk of getting these diseases, fat loss can immediately lower your chances. With every pound you lose, you can begin to lower your risk factors.

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