Friday, October 21, 2011

Lose Weight To Avoid Some Of The Worst Diseases: Excess Weight Can Affect Your Very Quality Of Life

Heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer...what do all of these nasty conditions frequently have in common? Obesity. The link has been clearly established...being overweight increases the likelihood of all of these disorders. Are there any other conditions that are affected by weight? Let's look at two more: sleep apnea and arthritis.

The word "apnea" is from a Greek word meaning temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep. So what? Won't you just start breathing again? Yes, most likely you will start again but if left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea is like "running your vehicle on low octane fuel". The effects of sleep apnea are not immediately obvious just as the results of low octane gas will not ruin your engine overnight. However, left untreated, damage, usually irreversible, will occur.

The risk of developing sleep apnea is higher for people who are overweight or obese. This is believed to be the result of an accumulation of fat around the neck which in effect making it more difficult for the sleeping body to lift the neck. This in turn makes the airway smaller and impairs the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the body. There also appears to be a connection between fat and inflammation which compounds the problem of sleep apnea.

Symptoms can usually be relieved by weight loss. In the meantime the physician may prescribe the use of a machine called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This device keeps the airway under pressure so that it doesn't collapse under the weight of the neck. The CPAP mask is worn over the nose (and maybe the mouth) during sleep.

Weight loss relieves sleep apnea because the neck is less burdened down by fat. Weight loss also reduces inflammation which is a contributory factor to sleep apnea and other conditions.

Joints enable us to move our bodies. If our skeletons were made up of only straight, immovable bones, we wouldn't even have the option of walking, or sitting, or hugging, or dancing. We'd be "stiff as a board".

The joints are cushioned and protected by tissue called cartilage. The presence of overweight or obesity may cause a condition called osteoarthritis, commonly called "wear and tear" arthritis because it is typically the result of excessive pressure on joints and cartilage. Increased body fat erodes the joints and their protective tissue, the cartilage, and causes pain, immobility, and disfigurement. Fat also increases inflammation which may also contribute to the development of arthritis.


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