Women: Is Obesity Putting Your Health at Risk?

ThinkstockPhotos-86796262We’ve all seen the statistics that obesity is continuing to rise at alarming rates. According to The Obesity Society, nearly 37% of women are obese, despite increased efforts to improve national obesity statistics. Aside from the discomfort of additional body weight, being obese can cause major problems that may dramatically affect a women’s health. In support of the recent National Women’s Health Week, we encourage those who are currently obese to learn more about the disease that currently affects 1 in 3 women.

Co-morbidities for Obese Women

  • Diabetes. In 2012 the Center for Disease Control reported that 13.4 million American women were diabetic, and that doesn’t include those who have the disease but have not been diagnosed. Diabetes and obesity increase a women’s risk of heart disease and death.
  • Coronary artery disease. Obese women over the age of 55 are at particular risk for heart attack and coronary heart disease caused by obesity-related insulin resistance.
  • Back pain. Studies have found that within 10 years, obese 23-year-old women experienced back pain that grew worse with each year. The study also found that once the back pain was present weight loss didn’t always relieve it.
  • Knee osteoarthritis (OA). Women who have been diagnosed with knee OA were typically 24% heavier than women without OA, (according to a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage). Obesity causes pressure to the knee joint, cartilage damage, and higher risk for degenerative meniscal lesions. However, rapid weight loss (possibly through weight loss surgery) resulting in at least a 10% body weight reduction improved knee function between 28-50%.
  • Infertility. Obesity-related infertility can be attributed to multiple causes, including disruptions in hormones like estrogen. Additionally, women with obesity are at higher risk for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Pregnancy-related issues. Obese women have been found to have higher risks associated with pregnancy including gestational diabetes, hypertension, miscarriage, and preeclampsia. Studies have found that weight loss before pregnancy can help resolve obesity-related infertility complications.
  • Depression. The link between obesity and depression is not conclusive, however, multiple studies including data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that obese women experienced greater levels of depression than men, particularly if they live in a community where obesity is not acceptable.
  • Cancer (endometrial, cervical, breast, and ovarian). Obesity can cause increased levels of unregulated estrogen in the body. The result, researchers are finding, is an increased risk of female-related cancers of the ovaries, cervix, breast, and endometrium. Obese women historically have had decreased survival rates due to later screenings, poor response to treatment, or additional obesity-related complications.

Obesity is clearly linked to many different women’s health issues. While combating obesity may feel impossible, there are many resources that can help you take control of your weight and physical wellness. If traditional methods like diet and exercise haven’t been successful, weight loss tools such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or lap band surgery may be the answer you’re looking for. The Surgical Specialists of Louisiana and Mississippi is dedicated to helping our patients achieve a more healthy lifestyle. To learn about weight loss surgery in Louisiana and Mississippi, attend a free seminar, request a consultation with one of our nine board certified surgeons, or call us at 877-691-3001.

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