If you are satisfied with your weight, you belong to the minority of people in the world, but must be commended for your positive outlook on your life and your body. However, weight loss still may be required. Many people who are overweight say that they are happy with their bodies, but the truth remains that weight loss in order to attain a healthy weight is very important. There are quite a few reasons why you should contemplate weight loss, even if you don’t care about having a couple of superfluous pounds.

If you are overweight, you are more apt to experience health problems. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, gout (joint pain caused by excess uric acid), and gallbladder disease. Sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep) and osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints) are other problems cause by being overweight. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have health problems.

The main health threat you will in all probability develop is heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack. The leading causes of death and disability for both men and women in the United States alone are heart disease and stroke. Heart disease develops when your heart has to work extra hard to pump the blood to the body, which causes it to become fatigued. This can take place simply because you are overweight, or can be product of high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Overweight people are more prone to have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, than people who are not overweight. High blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) can also lead to heart disease and often are associated with being overweight. Being overweight also contributes to angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.

It is good news that by losing a small amount of weight you can diminish your chances of developing heart disease or a stroke. In fact, by reducing your weight by 10 percent can decrease your chance of developing heart disease by improving how your heart works, blood pressure, and levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

Along with heart disease, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can also put you at risk of a stroke. Strokes happen when blood, and thus oxygen, cannot reach the brain. This can come about due to high cholesterol. When you have high cholesterol, the fatty deposits, or plaque, build up on your artery walls. If a piece of this plaque breaks off and travels to the heart, it causes a heart attack, and traveling to the brain causes a stroke.

Further, several forms of cancer are associated with being overweight. Overweight women, are at greater risk for developing cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. In men these include cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. For some types of cancer, such as colon or breast, it is not clear whether the increased risk is due to the added weight or to a high-fat and high-calorie diet.

In the United States the most common kind of diabetes is noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes). Type 2 diabetes reduces your body’s ability to control your blood sugar. It is a major reason of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness. Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight. You can lessen your threat of developing this type of diabetes by losing weight and by increasing your physical activity.

If you already suffer type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. And if you utilize medication to control your blood sugar, weight loss and physical activity may make it possible for your doctor to lessen the amount of medication you need.

For women who are trying to fall pregnant, being overweight is also unhealthy. When you’re overweight, the hormones in your body are changing, and if you don’t get the essential nutrients you may find that your body does not produce the right chemicals for the hormones required to ovulate or carry a child. Even if you happen to become pregnant, being overweight puts you at risk for a miscarriage or health problems with the baby.

Studies have shown that the heavier men are, the lower their testosterone, and the more prone they are to report dissatisfaction with their sex lives, especially avoiding sexual encounters and having difficulty performing sexually. Weight loss can contribute to a significant fall in estrogen levels, and testosterone levels tend to increase. This equates to improvements on each of the four measures of sexual quality of life: being less prone to avoid sexual encounters, have difficulty with sexual performance, have little sexual desire, or report not enjoying sex. (Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, April 2009)

Secondly, beyond the health world, being overweight can also affect your daily life. You may notice it difficult to acquire clothing in your size or you may find that the clothing that does come in bigger sizes is pricier. Problems continue further than shopping. Activities such as visiting theme parks, where you may not be able to ride all of the rides, or using public transportation, where you may feel crowded in seats made for smaller people can also be discouraging.

Losing weight, even if you are currently happy with your own weight, is beyond doubt a healthy and wise option, until you attain a normal weight.

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