September 25, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
Health News

Weight gain side effects: Brain function, joint pain, sleep problems

We all know carrying a few extra kilos is not ideal, but experts explain four surprising knock-on effects that can result from being overweight.

An expanded waistline and heavier body mass are a couple of expected side effects as a result of being overweight.

But a study into obesity and brain dysfunction raises the often overlooked idea that weight gain also impacts on more than just the body¡¯s physical size.

¡°There are myriad other health issues related to being overweight, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, and fertility complications,¡± says Dr Cris Beer, of The Medical Sanctuary.

There are also more unexpected ways that the body can be affected by carrying excess weight.

1. Brain functionality

A recent study found blood flow to the brain was decreased in overweight individuals.

¡°According to the research, this blood flow reduction in turn led to a reduced ability to concentrate,¡± explains Dr Beer.

¡°It also suggested an increased risk of depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, suicide and even Alzheimer¡¯s Disease.¡±

But Dr Emily Amos notes there are some limitations to these findings.

¡°This study simply looked at participants brains via MRI scanning and divided the results up by their BMIs,¡± Dr Amos says.

¡°More research needs to be done to ascertain if there is a causal relationship rather than just a correlation.¡±

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2. Joint problems

Our joint system comes under immense strain when we carry excess weight.

¡°If we are over our healthy weight range, then we are placing added stressors onto our bones and joints,¡± explains Dr Amos.

Over time, this wear and tear can potentially lead to the onset of premature osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, if this occurs, it creates a cycle that¡¯s difficult to break.

¡°Osteoarthritis causes pain with movement,¡± says Dr Beer.

¡°This restricts a person¡¯s ability to move and exercise, which ultimately makes it harder for them to lose that excess weight.¡±

3. Interrupted sleep

Correct air passage function ¨C particularly at night time ¨C can also can be impacted by weight gain.

¡°If we are carrying excess weight around the neck and chest area, this can physically affect our ability to breathe comfortably when we lie down,¡± says Dr Amos.

¡°Some signs of obstructive sleep apnoea include waking up feeling unrefreshed, snoring or even ¡®micro-awakenings¡¯, resulting from breathing stoppages at night. If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor.¡±

4. Mental health issues

¡°Not only can being overweight impact your physical health, but also your mental health,¡± says Dr Beer.

However the link between overweight individuals and mental health isn¡¯t as straight forward as it seems, notes Dr Amos.

¡°It may be that overweight individuals are at an increased risk of depression, or it may be that depressed people are more at risk of becoming obese,¡± she says.

Regardless of the cause, Dr Amos says that ¡°healthy lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise and socialising¡± are essential in managing ongoing mental health issues.

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Weight loss wake-up call

These factors serve as a reminder that that benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond fitting into a certain dress size.

¡°Although the aesthetic benefits might be a major driver for someone wanting to lose weight, it is also helpful to keep in mind that the non-body weight benefits of losing weight are equally, if not more, important,¡± says Dr Beer.

¡°And these benefits will be seen a lot sooner than many people may realise.¡±

As a starting point, Dr Beer suggests overweight individuals aim to lose around 5-10 percent of total body weight.

¡°Losing this relatively small amount is required to start seeing improvements in, and in some cases, completely reversing, chronic health issues related to being overweight.¡±

Written by Sharon Hunt.

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