- September 29, 2015
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- Posted by: admin
Obesity doesn’t just add layers of fat around your thighs and torso. Some of the greatest consequences of poor diet and lack of exercise occur inside your body, out of sight and too often out of mind. We can’t see these health effects, we think, so they must not exist.
A word to the wise: They do. Our body’s biochemistry is complex, and given the relationship between many of your organs and those organs to your physical and mental health, not being able to fit into your jeans may be the least of your problems.
Here are five organs that feel the brunt of your obesity:
Excess fat tissue in the body requires oxygen to stay alive. This means your heart recruits more blood vessels to deliver oxygen-rich blood to that tissue. In addition, the more fat that accumulates inside your arteries, the harder those arteries get. Thicker walls allow a narrower space for blood to pass through, so to maintain the same pressure the heart must work harder. The heart feels the greatest effect from obesity. The muscle itself works harder; the risk for blood clots increases; and the resulting blood circulation throughout the body suffers overall.
Researchers haven’t found the connection between obesity and most cancers to be all that strong — except for colon cancer. Among both men and women with obese classifications, colorectal cancers arise with startling frequency. This could be for two main reasons, experts suspect.
The first involves a diet high in processed meats and red meats, a common factor among patients suffering from colon polyps — an early potential sign of colon cancer. The other factor is an elevated level of insulin or insulin-related growth factor in the blood.
The link between body and mind isn’t new, but the latest science is compelling. A 2010 study found cognitive function showed negative associations with obesity on measures. One hypothesis cites the deteriorating white matter that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain, which send signals around the organ. This white matter sheathing has been found more damaged in the brains of the obese.
It’s easy to forget how much obesity can damage the skin, and contrary to popular opinion, cosmetic blemishes like stretch marks aren’t the only consequence. Hormone changes can cause acanthosis nigricans, a thickening and darkening of the skin; swelling and stretching of the skin can cause redness and irritation, known as stasis dermatitis; and poor vein function can lead to ulcers, found most often in ankles as a result of lacking blood flow.
Like the arteries surrounding your heart, your lungs face great risk in the presence of excess fat. Poor lung function means blood vessels may not be getting enough oxygen. Similarly, obese people face a far greater risk for obstructive sleep apnea than non-obese people, further limiting the oxygen their bodies take in.