In a culture obsessed with image and appearance, it’s no wonder that the weight loss industry continues to reign supreme. We are inundated with images of slim supermodels, shredded athletes, and air-brushed celebrities creating an often unrealistic and unattainable perception of the ideal.
While this has the potential to lead to frustration and unhealthy habits, on the other hand it can serve as motivation to drop that extra baggage. You see in a society fixated on superficial aesthetics, unfortunately, health winds up taking a back seat. If striving to fit into that bathing suit can serve as a catalyst for those slowly dying due to the extra baggage to take steps toward a healthier life, then so be it. (Call that your alkalizing lemonade out of organic lemons or your colloidal silver lining.) Provided of course, it is done in a healthy and controlled manner. No fad diets or quick fixes here.
The truth of the matter is the dangers of living life overweight or obese stretch way beyond the outward appearance. Here are 5 more hazards you may or may not have already been aware of that will hopefully spark you or someone you love to wake up and change before it’s too late.
In order to appreciate these hazards, it needs to be acknowledged that a fat cell is not a benign cell, but rather an endocrine cell; that is, a cell that secretes hormones classified as adipokines. Hormones are secreted throughout our bodies to serve as communicators and messengers in carrying out various tasks and functions. This is vital for life, but when not functioning correctly, can be severely detrimental to our health.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
I know we’ve all heard being overweight can lead to increased blood pressure, but why? Other than the fact that the body needs to work harder to do everything due to the surplus of lbs., fat cells (aka as adipocytes) actually secrete a hormone called angiotensin. Release of this hormone normally occurs due to the kidney to control blood pressure, but an excess of fat cells leads to an excess of angiotensin, leading to high blood pressure and all the well documented risks that come along with that.
INCREASED INSULIN RESISTANCE
Another hormone secreted by fat cells is called resistin. This hormone causes insulin resistance, which is one of the key factors involved with type II diabetes. Mounting research implicates the fat cell’s release of resistin as the linking factor between obesity and diabetes. Insulin resistance also is involved in hypertension and atherosclerosis.
You can’t read anything health related these days without seeing the word inflammation being named as the common denominator involved with virtually all disease processes. So what do you think the fat cells have the ability to secrete? You guessed it, numerous inflammatory mediators (i.e. PGE, TNF, IL-6) that increase pain and cause internal destruction.
INCREASED RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS & STROKE
The hits just keep on coming here. Fat cells release something called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). This is a protein that essentially diminishes the body’s natural ability to breakdown clots, and enable continuous blood flow. Too much PAI-1 and you’re prone for sluggish circulation, which can culminate in clots and stroke. This poor circulation can also lead to swelling and other symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling due to the lack of blood flow to our peripheral nerves.
This protein is also produced in the cells that line our blood vessels (endothelial cells). It is normal and quite necessary for these hormones to be present in our bodies. The main issue here is with excess fat cells comes excess presence of these hormones, leading to a loss of balance (homeostasis) and subsequent pathology.
The last issue we will touch on here is the fact that fat cells produce estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen will be produced. Male breast cancer continues to rise congruently with obesity. An overweight male taking part in testosterone therapy is simply providing the fat cells more fuel to convert into estrogen and all the other issues correlated with elevated estrogen levels (infertility, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, cancer, etc.) Excess estrogen in females can also lead to various forms of cancer, hair loss, hypothyroidism and uterine fibroids.
Obviously the consequences of carrying excess fat extend way beyond these mentioned, but add these to the continuously enlarging list. I also realize that losing weight is exponentially more difficult than simply saying the words and the degree of difficulty varies on an individual basis. However, research, evidence and history have shown us that it can be done.
If you’ve tried time and time again to no avail, and are somewhat lost at this point, but willing to truly sacrifice today in order to invest in the future, consult a healthcare professional. If you’d like to begin your path in the right direction with a nutritional consult, feel free to contact me at anytime (contact information at the top of the page to the right).
A consistent commitment to exercise and a diet overhaul can be life changing and in many cases, saving. Add the assistance of someone trained to identify functional imbalances that may be impeding your progress, and some serious momentum in the right direction can be attained. We only get one shot down here and one body to carry us through the journey. Respect life and make the investment in your future today.