How Weight Loss Can Improve Your Health
Weight loss can mean big changes in your appearance, energy levels and physical abilities, but it can also dramatically improve your health. For many people, a loss of just 10 percent of excess weight is enough to make a substantial difference in health, and this can pay off in a better life.
How exactly can weight loss help us become healthier? By losing excess weight, you can experience improvements in:
- Blood lipids are fat-like substances like cholesterol and triglycerides that can be found in your blood and tissues, and your body needs small amounts of them to function. However, excess weight, poor diet and inactivity can cause blood lipids to rise above healthy levels, which can lead to deposits of fat on the artery walls and put you at a higher risk of heart disease. Many people can experience a reduction of blood lipids with a 15 percent loss of excess weight.
- Blood pressure refers to the force with which blood pushes through your arteries. Excess weight is associated with high blood pressure or hypertension, which can damage the arteries as blood pushes through them too forcefully. Hypertension can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and a variety of other problems, but many people can experience a decrease in blood pressure with a 10 percent loss of excess weight.
- Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body is not able to properly balance blood sugar levels. As sugar builds up in the bloodstream, it can contribute to heart and blood vessel diseases, as well as damage to the nerves, kidneys, eyes, feet, skin and mouth. Type 2 diabetes is highly associated with excess weight and physical inactivity, and a 7 to 15 percent reduction of excess weight can help many people improve or even completely reverse it.
- Sleep apnea causes interruptions in your breathing as you sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and fatigue throughout the day. Sleep apnea is very common among the obese and many people must use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device each night to prevent breathing problems. Weight loss can improve or reverse sleep apnea, helping many people discontinue the use of CPAP.
- GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition in which stomach acid regularly washes into the esophagus, causing heartburn and potential damage to the esophagus. Excess weight increases your risk of GERD, and many obese people must take medication indefinitely to control their symptoms. However, weight loss can lead to the complete resolution of GERD, removing the need for medication.
By improving your health in ways like these, weight loss can help you feel better for the rest of your life.