The causes of obesity in women are varied. There are many interrelated factors, such as genetics, lifestyle and general metabolism. Whatever may be the cause, being overweight is a cause of concern. It is not only about the looks. Being even 20% over 'normal' makes one vulnerable to a plethora of bad health conditions. The risk increases if you already have a tendency for it such as a family history.
Also, where your weight is located on your body may matter. If it's mostly around your stomach, that is, you are "apple" shaped you could be at greater risk than those with a "pear" shape, meaning those with the extra weight mostly around the hips and buttocks.
Obesity makes you prone to?
High Cholesterol/ Hypertension:
High cholesterol and hypertension which can lead to more serious heart disease and stroke. There is an increase demand on the heart to pump blood to all the extra fat. This puts pressure on the arteries and causes hypertension and thickening of the walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is thus common in the obese. Fatty deposits in the arteries makes one more prone to heart attacks and stroke. Losing even 5 to 10% of the extra weight can significantly reduce the risk.
The chances of developing type 2 or maturity onset diabetes is very high in obese people, especially if there is a family history of diabetes. It can even occur in children if they suffer from obesity. Obesity causes resistance to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. As a consequence the blood sugar level rises. The risk can be reduced by even moderate exercise, eating a proper diet and losing weight.
The hips, knees and ankle joints are particularly susceptible as they have to bear all that excess weight. The cushioning pads or cartilage in the joints wear away because of all that extra pressure on them.
Another risk is to get gout. This is a disease of the joints caused by an increase of uric acid in the blood. Sudden weight gain can cause a flare up of symptoms.
Sleep apnea and asthma are also common. Overweight women tend to snore heavily and get episodes of non-breathing or sleep apnea which causes disturbed night time sleep. This can cause daytime sleepiness. Both day time sleepiness and sleep apnea are high risk factors for a heart attack or stroke. Sleep apnea is also associated with high blood pressure.
It is a high risk factor for heart disease is also associated with obesity.
The patient will exhibit-
1. Increased abdominal girth
2. high blood cholesterol
3. high blood pressure
4. insulin resistance with or without glucose intolerance
5. elevation of certain factors in the blood that indicate inflammation
6. elevation of certain clotting factors in the blood.
Bodily aches and pains and difficulty in normal physical functioning will be found in most overweight women. This can make daily tasks difficult to followup causing general sluggishness. This creates a vicious cycle of bad health, inactive life style. There is a decreased life span in the obese.
Obesity and its impact:
Obese women are also likely to suffer from low self esteem, anxiety, depression. They may also face psycho-social discrimination causing less effective health care thus compounding their problems. In all they could be living a lower quality of life because of this as well as their general ill health.