Obesity – Its Consequences

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Obesity – Its Consequences

Obesity causes many diseases, some of which increase the rate of mortality. The more a person’s weight, the greater is the risk of his early death.

When an overweight person dies, the death certificate does not state the cause being overweight. But it is a common knowledge that overweight persons are more susceptible to life-destroying diseases than those who are not. Obesity is always the contributing cause for such deaths.

During the 1970s in the West when the incident of fatal diseases due to overweight was taken into account, the following diseases were found to be causing early death – diabetes, cerebral haemorrhage, all heart diseases, gall bladder diseases, cirrhosis of the liver {hardening of the liver and degeneration of active liver cells}, and chronic nephritis {inflammatory and degenerative disease of the kidney}.

A danger signal for the vital organs

Obesity is a disorder which affects the vital organs of the human body. We shall see how the different organs function and how obesity causes disrepair to them.

Human body can be, in a way, compared with an office. Everyone, from the manager down to the attendant has his own specific responsibilities and work chalked out for him. Similarly, different organs of the human body have their own specific functions to carry out. In the office, if an important junior staff is absent or is incapable of carrying out his functions effectively, his senior can temporarily manage his duties in addition to his own. This would obviously tell upon the senior’s own output. So, this cannot go on for a prolonged period. Even on a temporary basis, the working of the office will get thrown out of gear with the senior not being able to keep up his commitments. Same is the case with the human body too.

Heart & lungs’ mutual function

The heart is a wonderful organ of our body without which there can be no human life. Even during our sleep, it works unceasingly and tirelessly. It supplies blood to the whole body. It pumps pure blood which is distributed through arteries to all organs. The impure blood brought to it by veins from all over the body, is sent to the lungs for purification. Blood – pure or impure, has to reach the heart first to be distributed through the respective blood vessels or to be sent to the lungs for purification. Nature’s provision of two individual chambers, makes the heart’s function efficient to keep the pure and impure blood separate. The heart is helped by the lungs, which are two in number. Lungs too, tirelessly go on purifying the blood to be sent back to the heart. Lungs do not send pure blood to the organs nor do they receive impure blood directly. For this purpose the heart is the centre which distributes and receives blood to and from the organs. Hence, any hindrance in the heart’s functions, disturbs the functioning of the lungs, and so is the case the other way round. As such the functions of these two vital organs are inter-linked and any defect setting in, in one of these organs affects the other.

Excess fat – an impediment to the heart’s function

Fat is essential for our body but in limited quantities. It is contained in the tissues of our body. The excess of fat is an obstacle leading to the various disorders.

Extra fat gets deposited gradually in:

  1. the surface layer of the heart.
  2. the loose tissues around the kidneys and
  3. the supporting tissues within the abdomen.

As you know, the heart supplies blood to the tissues. Heart muscles contract in order to pump blood. When the fat deposits create an overload, the heart muscles can do nothing but over work in the process of supplying blood to the tissues, causing discomfort to the heart.

Blood gets the nutrition form the intestines through the food we take. When the proportion of fat contents exceeds the limit, the blood gets thickened and the heart muscles have to overwork in pumping the blood. In spite of the heart’s constant pumping the walls of the blood vessels {arteries} get thickened. The type of food we take, therefore, has a determinant effect in gaining weight.

Cholesterol-That familiar name

We often come across the word Cholesterol. Now what is this cholesterol? It is a normal constituent of the blood. It is found in the cell membranes and layer of the skin. It is used by the adrenal and the sex glands to form the hormones. Cholesterol has a proper and regular function to be performed in the body’s chemical process.

Excess cholesterol is derived from the saturated fats we consume through our food. Fatty deposits containing large quantities of cholesterol, lead to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries {blood vessels}. This condition is known as Arteriosclerosis. We know that the excess fat gets deposited in the surface of the heart. This is an overload on the heart. Excess fat is also a living tissue and hence requires blood supply just as any other tissue in our body. An increase in body fat necessitates a corresponding increase in the number of small blood vessels for the additional blood supply or else the heart cannot but overwork to meet the need.

The heart of an obese person functions under the handicap of a superfluous layer of fat. Overweight also hinders lung function, resulting in respiratory problems. Apart from heart and lungs, the liver and kidneys are the other vital organs that get affected due to obesity.
A little light on the functions of liver and kidneys will be necessary to understand the way they get affected due to obesity.

No metabolism without liver

Liver’s function in our body is very important for its role in the metabolism {chemical changes} of fats. Fat is required for heat and energy in our body. The liver not only breaks the fat with the help of the digestive pancreatic juice form the pancreas, but also converts the excess carbohydrates into fat for storage. When an individual takes in more calories than are required they are stored as fat, even if obtained from carbohydrate or proteins. When fat is required for energy it is withdrawn from this storage and carried to the liver, to be split in to substances that are fat soluble.

Insulin is a word known to one and all, especially those who suffer from diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during its endocrine function. Insulin is required to burn the glucose. Liver stores excess glucose that circulates in blood. With the help of insulin, liver converts this excess glucose into a substance known as glycogen for storage until necessity arises. When sugar is required, the glycogen is converted back into glucose and fed into the blood.

An obese person has the tendency to overeat. Appetite cannot be controlled in ni9ne out of ten obese persons. If there is a history o diabetes in the family and if the person is already obese and is used to consume fats and carbohydrates in excess, then the insulin produced becomes insufficient for it s conversion and the liver naturally suffers a setback too. That is one of the many reasons why persons who are obese are advised to keep away from sweets and fats as much as possible.

Kidney has its share of distress

Kidney are the organs of elimination of waste products form the body. They are two in number and are located on either side of the lower spine. Kidney has a plentiful supply of blood vessels. It has fine filters and performs the tough job of filtering twice the amount of blood in the body every hour. It does not allow the large particles of essential proteins and red cells to pass through the filter. Most of the fluid is re-absorbed. Essential glucose, amino acids, hormones and other vitamins are returned to the blood stream after absorption. The excess of these substances are discarded through the urine. More fat tissues the body contains, the greater the task of elimination. So when a person is obese, kidney diseases tend to develop easily.

Assault on the muscles and joints

Excess weight interferes with the skeleton-muscular activities. All the weight-bearing joints are overburdened due to the excess weight. Rheumatism, gout and arthritis are common in those who are overweight. It may be argued that these disorders affect event those who are not obese and sometimes even extremely thin persons suffer from these disorders. But along with these diseases, the damage to the joints and bones is greater in obese than in non-obese persons.
Obesity also results in impotent in some cases. If it occurs at a very young age, with activities and exercises being nil, it implies very poor health and loss of energy. This, in many cases, results in the loss of vigour and leads to impotency.

In view if what we have seen so far, it should be clear that if we avoid obesity, we can avoid most of the other undesirable and avoidable disorders and diseases that become difficult to cure!

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  • About The Author


    Gopakumar Nair belongs to a Hereditary Ayurvedic family of Kerala who were Practising Ayurveda and traditional Medicine for 200 Years . They can be traced back to over six generations. His experience under the guidance of his guru Valiya thampuraan has earned lot of trust and popularity.

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