As weight increases, so too does the risk of many different health conditions. High blood pressure is a common complication of being overweight that can also raise one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. Overweight people are also less likely to survive these events.
Unhealthy weight raises the risk of many other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, and several others. Many of these are common. Overweight people who already have a genetic disposition to any of these conditions are at very high risk.
Sustained weight loss and management can curb many of these risks. If weight loss is achieved before health problems begin, the patient becomes less likely to develop those complications, even with advancing age. Health benefits are brought about by increased heart efficiency, improved muscle mass, better blood circulation, and many other factors.
Weight loss methods range from self-directed diet and exercise to medically supervised weight loss regimes to surgical intervention. Many patients benefit from combining several methods.
Weight loss surgery, such as lap band surgery, is generally only practiced on those who are severely obese whose condition has not responded to a medically supervised weight loss plan.
Lifestyle changes focus on reducing portions, changing meal times, improving nutrition, and raising the amount of physical exercise a person engages in. Once weight loss is achieved, these lifestyle changes must remain in place to avoid regaining lost weight in the future.
Virtually all Americans are affected by the health issues caused by weight or know someone who is. However, sustained weight loss is not simply a matter of “willpower.” More weight loss clinical trials are needed to uncover the complex biological processes that can make weight loss difficult.