Consequences of being overweight


The number of overweight people in Germany and in the industrialized nations in general steadily increasing. Not only is the number of overweight people increasing, but also the degree of obesity. One speaks of being overweight from one person Body mass index (BMI) over 25. From a BMI of over 30 one speaks of so-called Obesity (obesity). The BMI is calculated based on body weight in kilograms divided by body length in meters squared.

Physical consequences

Unfortunately, society is not well aware of the consequences of being overweight. Thousands of people die every year as a result of Obesity. Studies show that life expectancy is clearly reduced in people who are seriously overweight. In people with a BMI of 35, for example, the mortality risk is increased by a factor of 2.5 compared to people of normal weight. For 40-year-old overweight people, life expectancy is three to six years lower than that of slim people. If it is a very severe obesity, the Life expectancy can even be reduced by up to 20 years. Of course, not every kilo too much has such devastating effects that it leads to a range of secondary diseases. According to studies, a few pounds too much on the hips are even better for the body than underweight, but it should not exceed a certain level.

Being more overweight usually also brings one lower physical resilience with himself. It comes to faster Exhaustion, shortness of breath and sweating. Of course, this involves a vicious circle, as the lack of exercise that usually results from it does not exactly counteract obesity. Obese people have one significantly increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and ultimately to die from it. Due to the higher body weight, the heart has to work harder to supply the entire body with sufficient blood. Due to the increased cardiac load, one usually develops over time Heart failure (Heart failure), in which the heart is no longer able to efficiently supply the body with blood.

Due to the increased fat content of those affected, they usually also suffer from one arteriosclerosisat which it becomes a Calcification of vessels comes, whereby their diameter is narrowed, so that the Body poorly supplied with blood can be. Atherosclerosis comes from, among other things increased levels of fat in the blood especially because the Cholesterol levels increase. The so-called bad cholesterol, that LDL cholesterol, then settles in the vessel walls. The increased cholesterol level also leads to a increased formation of gallstonesthat can be very uncomfortable under certain circumstances and that Increase risk of gallbladder cancer.

An almost inevitable disease in overweight people is Sugar disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus. Due to the increased intake of carbohydrates and sugar, the pancreas produces a large amount of insulin, which should naturally lower the sugar level. Due to the constantly increased insulin level, the body develops resistance to the hormone at some point. This means that the cells no longer respond to the hormone. This condition is reached much earlier in overweight people than in normal weight people.

Most overweight people also suffer from one increased blood pressure, which also stresses and attacks the cardiovascular system. This should definitely be medicated and, above all, through Changes in lifestyle decreased become. In the case of overweight people, more water remains and more salts remain in the body, so that there is an increased volume of fluid in the blood vessels and causes high blood pressure. A high blood pressure can become permanent harmful to eyes and kidneys impact.

If all the diseases mentioned above, i.e. sugar disease, lipid metabolism disorder and high blood pressure, occur together with being overweight, this is referred to as metabolic syndrome. All of these diseases also contribute to the development of the arteriosclerosis already mentioned. The risk of a heart attack and a stroke is significantly increased.

In most cases, a diet that is usually very high in fat also develops Fatty liver. Other diseases of the liver, such as inflammation, are favored by the fatty liver. Sometimes a fatty liver can also develop into a Cirrhosis of the liver which is associated with an increased risk of cancer and in which the work of the liver is restricted.

Likewise, the concentration of uric acid is often increased due to malnutrition in obese people, causing it to increase Gout attacks can come.

Also a so-called Sleep apnea syndrome occurs more than average in overweight people.It refers to brief pauses in breathing while sleeping. In most cases, those affected do not notice this themselves. Often the partner notices because, for example, the snoring stops briefly. The pauses in breathing reduce the oxygen content of the blood. The pauses in breathing put the body under stress, so Blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar increase. Are affected by sleep apnea syndrome often tired during the daybecause sleep is not restful. Sleep apnea syndrome occurs more frequently in overweight people, as there are more fat pads in the throat area that can block the throat area when inhaled.

Unhealthy diet and lack of exercise lead to obesity.

Blood coagulation is also influenced by being overweight. In overweight people, blood coagulation increases, which increases the risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. These are small blood clots that clog blood vessels. This is particularly dangerous if, as in a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot blocks a vessel in the lungs.

The risk of certain types of cancer is also increased. These include breast cancer and cervical cancer in women. One of the reasons for this is the changed hormone levels in overweight women. But the risk of colon cancer and gallbladder cancer is also increased in both men and women.

Of course, the increased body weight also puts more strain on the joints, so that wear and tear occurs more quickly, i.e. osteoarthritis. Often attempts are made to compensate for the increased stress on the joints with misalignments of the legs / feet and incorrect posture of the body, so that the pain of osteoarthritis only occurs later. The knee, hip and ankle joints as well as the spine are particularly affected.

Almost any of the consequences listed can be reduced again by weight reduction or the severity of the disease can be minimized. Life expectancy also increases again after successful weight loss.

Read more about this at: Osteoarthritis and obesity

Consequences of obesity in children and adolescents

About 15% of all children in Germany are overweight. The more overweight children are, the more likely it is that obesity will persist into adulthood. This also depends on whether the parents are also overweight. Overweight children have a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in particular (Sugar disease) to get sick. Colloquially, type 2 diabetes mellitus is also referred to as old-age sugar, because it usually only appears at an advanced age. In the meantime, however, many overweight children and adolescents are also suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus. The disease is caused on the one hand by being overweight, but also by a lack of exercise that is usually associated with it. The body no longer responds adequately to the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to another effect in addition to sugar disease. It can cause increased testosterone levels in girls, leading to masculinization (Virilization) brings with it. This can be expressed, for example, by a deeper voice or increased hairiness. It can also lead to what is known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, which sometimes leads to infertility.

Read more on the topic: Diabetes in Children

Since the sex hormones of women, the estrogen, are formed in adipose tissue, among other things, obese girls have an earlier onset of puberty. The earlier entry is also due to the fact that puberty begins from a certain body weight. This body weight is logically reached earlier in overweight children, so that puberty begins earlier. Due to the changed hormone level compared to children of normal weight, there are often disturbances in the cycle. For example, menstrual periods are more frequent or irregular. Estrogen is not only found in the female body, boys also produce estrogen, just as girls have testosterone. Thus, in overweight boys there is also a greater production of estrogen in the adipose tissue, which causes a breast attachment (Gynecomastia) can train.

Also formed in adipose tissue, among other things, is the hormone IGF (Insulin like growth factor), which is a growth hormone. Due to the increased production in overweight children, there is faster growth in length and premature skeletal maturity. The rapid growth causes the connective tissue of the skin to tear, so that young people often have many so-called stretch marks.

Even in childhood, very overweight children can already wear joints. Overweight children develop splayfeet and flat feet, as well as knock knees or bowlegs more often than children of normal weight. They usually arise as compensation for the increased body weight. Overweight adolescents between 10 and 14 years of age have a higher risk of femoral head disease, known as epiphyseolyisis capitits femoris, in which the femoral head slips off. The disease harbors the risk that the femoral head can no longer be nourished via the blood vessels and dies.

Overweight children often suffer more psychologically than overweight adults. Their self-esteem is often lower and it is not uncommon for depression to develop. In general, overweight people have an increased rate of depression and anxiety disorders.

Consequences of obesity in old age

As a rule, as people age, obese people suffer from several chronic diseases. They are then so-called multimorbid patients (People with multiple diseases) with a range of medications to take regularly. Quite a few overweight people suffer from both one Sugar sickness, one high blood pressure, increased blood lipid levels (a metabolic syndrome) and consequently also on one arteriosclerosis, i.e. a calcification of the vessels. The calcification of the vessels on the heart is also Cause of coronary artery disease (CHD). The coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood so that it can work properly are narrowed. As a result of the narrowing it comes to at some point shortness of breath and partly too Chest pain. These symptoms are called, which usually occur under physical or psychological stress, because the body then needs more oxygen than Angina pectoris. In extreme cases, patients with severe CAD can have a heart attack. Atherosclerosis is of course not only noticeable in the heart, the vessels in the brain also calcify and can lead to a stroke.

The mobility of overweight older people is significantly restricted in comparison to those of the same age of normal weight, as the joints are much more worn and cause pain. Often the knee and hip joint are no longer the natural joint, but have already become one due to excessive wear artificial joint used. This usually happens earlier in overweight people than in normal weight people.

Consequences of obesity for society

Almost half of the population in Germany is overweight. This has increased significantly in recent years. One of the reasons for this is the rapid availability of unhealthy food in the form of fast food restaurants and frozen meals. When talking about the consequences of being overweight for society, that means above all financial burdens meant. Obese people have to go to the doctor more often because of the secondary diseases that arise, and this puts a corresponding burden on the health system.

Studies by a Hamburg health economist Alexander Konnopka have shown that about 36,600 people die as a result of their obesity. The number is similar to the number of smokers who die from illnesses as a result of nicotine consumption. Obese people in Germany cause costs of 4.85 billion euros per year in the health system. The federal government announced that The obese are responsible for about a third of the health system's expenditure are. Furthermore, it must be taken into account that overweight people usually leave the labor market earlier due to their secondary diseases and accordingly no longer pay into health and pension funds. On average, an overweight person costs 25% more than a person of normal weight. However, this is partially offset by the usually lower life expectancy of a few years.

Further information

Further information on the subject of obesity can be found here:

  • Obesity
  • Overweight in children
  • Lose weight