Overweight and obesity – differences, causes and diseases that cause

Walking through the streets of our cities, we meet more and more people whose appearance indicates that their body weight deviates from the set standard. Such weight abnormalities can range from a small, several kilograms overweight to a morbid obesity that not only threatens health, but in extreme cases even life. We must honestly say to ourselves that we are getting fatter and that this unpleasant condition is already considered by specialists to be a social disease, and at the same time one of the most difficult to cure. Even these few kilograms more should therefore cause us concern, because if we do not control it, the consequences could be catastrophic. There are many methods of fighting overweight and obesity, which we describe on this page, but it is also worth to learn about the differences between these diseases, the causes of them and the threat they pose to our body.

Overweight and obesity – how to distinguish between them

Most of us seem to think that the concepts of overweight and obesity are the same and there is no difference between them. However, the specialists clearly state that the differences are diametric and that their correct distinction allows to apply the right treatment, the right slimming treatment. Both ailments are directly related to the structure of the human body, which consists largely of body fat, the correct amount of which in women should not exceed 15-20 per cent of body weight, and in men 12 per cent. All of them, even small deviations from the norm, mean overweight, otherwise known as a transition state, which, if neglected, leads to obesity. In a way it is a pre-existing condition, and this is because we provide the body with too much food, and this energy surplus, which is impossible to burn, the body begins to accumulate in the form of fat rollers in various parts of the body. Obesity is assumed to be obesity when it exceeds 10 percent of the norm calculated from e.g. the BMI index, i.e. the body mass index. This should definitely not be underestimated, because the next stage of the disease is obesity.

Obesity, in turn, is a situation in which already over-programmed body weight has long exceeded the safe 10 per cent mark, and estimates from the World Health Organisation indicate that one in four people in the world will be affected by this serious civilisation disease by 2025. The largest number of illnesses is recorded in highly developed countries, of course, as well as on our continent, and in Poland we are already dealing with a real epidemic of overweight and obesity. Unfortunately, it does not only affect adults and doctors in our country, but it is also an alarm bell that Polish children gain weight the fastest in the whole of Europe. For almost 50 years, specialists have been qualifying obesity for chronic diseases, involving practically uncontrolled accumulation of fat tissue and weight gain, and it is divided into several degrees according to the calculated BMI index:

  • BMI from 30 to 34.9 – first degree obesity;
  • BMI from 35 to 39.9 degree obesity;
  • BMI greater than 40 – huge obesity, which is a threat to life and requires immediate treatment.

In short, we can say that obesity is when the amount of body fat in women exceeds 25 percent and in men 25 percent of the total body weight.

Overweight and obesity – causes

It is difficult to determine only one reason for the increase in body weight, although we do not hide the fact that the most common is simply unrestrained and difficult to satisfy appetite and improper, high-calorie diet, resulting in excessive growth of body fat. While overweight and obesity are fundamentally different, the main cause remains the same for both. Lack of time for independent preparation of a full meal makes us reach for what is at hand, most often for ready-made dishes heated in a microwave oven, or for the most harmful fast foods. We think that if we eat a pizza or hamburger from time to time, it will not have a negative impact on the body, but when it is repeated regularly, the weight immediately goes up. Such meals are also deprived of most of the nutrients necessary for health, which has a negative impact on overall health.

Eating and an unhealthy diet are not the only causes of this state of affairs, just as often overweight and obesity are caused by:

  • genetic determinants, and both diseases are often inherited from parents;
  • environmental factors, especially lifestyle, irregular nutrition, non-eating breakfast, the most important meal giving energy for the whole day, non-eating fruit and vegetables, eating only processed food;
  • lack of physical activity, resulting not only from the sitting nature of work, but most often simply from our laziness;
  • psychological factors, especially severe stress or depression, which can sometimes result in excessive eating;
  • night food syndrome, which manifests itself in food that is difficult to control during the night hours;
  • Compulsive eating syndrome, also under the influence of severe stress or nervousness;
  • hormonal disorders, such as increased secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone, have a significant impact on fatigue;
  • other coexisting diseases, often cancer;
  • alcohol abuse, disturbing digestion and metabolism of the body;
  • taking certain medications, especially sedatives, progesterones and estrogens;
  • economic factors preventing the purchase of wholesome healthy food;
  • quitting smoking, which often involves significant weight gain.

Overweight and obesity – visible external signs of disease

There is no denying that some of the above causes can also be found at home, and correct and, most importantly, early diagnosis makes it much easier to find an effective method of fighting overweight and obesity. Their symptoms are so characteristic that, except in a few cases, they cannot be confused with anything else. The first one is, of course, weight gain and fat rollers that accumulate mainly on the abdomen, and the facial features can also be distorted. Other equally common are the progressive limitations that make it difficult to perform many seemingly mundane everyday activities. In addition to this, there is also dyspnoea and excessive sweating at the smallest physical effort, such as climbing stairs.

Overweight and obesity – health threats that cause

External symptoms are certainly important, but much more important is the devastation that obesity causes inside our bodies. The list of diseases to which we are exposed by getting into this state, caused precisely by the accumulation of too much body fat, is very long, and the most dangerous of these are the following:

  • heart and whole circulatory system diseases, hypertension, atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, myocardial failure, leading to many serious complications including heart attack or stroke;
  • diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels;
  • cholecystolithiasis and kidney dysfunction;
  • cancer;
  • osteoarthritis, especially of the lower limbs and spine, usually in the lumbar region, which prevents even normal movement;
  • chronic venous insufficiency, manifested by painful and disfiguring varicose veins;
  • diseases of the digestive system, not only ordinary digestive or metabolic disorders, but also troublesome constipations, inflammations of the gall bladder, intestines and stomach;
  • hormonal imbalances in the body;
  • reduced libido, especially in men with erectile dysfunction and reduced sexual desire;
  • problems with getting pregnant, getting pregnant and the health of the unborn child;
  • a significant reduction in life expectancy, even by a dozen or so years.

Disregarding them is a mistake whose effects are often irreparable, so when we see the first signs of overweight or obesity, it’s time to start counteracting it. There are many methods we can use, starting from diet, through pharmacological measures or dietary supplements supporting slimming, and all of them will be presented in more detail in the following entries.

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