Those extra pounds you gained can have an adverse effect on your health.
Many Americans put on undesired weight during the pandemic. An American Psychological Association survey of more than 3,000 adults found that 42% of respondents gained more weight than they intended, with those averaging 29 pounds gained during the pandemic.
Dr. Jason Holdych, an Internal Medicine physician at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates, notes, that much extra weight can cause serious health complications. “Being overweight or obese could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea, and more. That’s why it’s so important to try and keep that excess weight off. Your overall health may depend on it.”
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, and prediabetes are two prevalent and preventable disorders associated with weight gain. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noted that nearly half of all adult Americans –108 million people – have high blood pressure. And individuals with prediabetes have almost a 50% chance of developing into type 2 diabetes.
You Can Pre-empt Prediabetes
Prediabetes is particularly dangerous because it usually doesn’t have any signs or symptoms. In fact, nearly 90% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Diet, inactivity, family history and age are all contributing factors.
“Prediabetes is often discovered during a routine physical examination with basic screening for fasting blood sugar levels,” says Dr. Holdych. “A normal sugar level is below 100 mg/dL. Anything between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicates the patient may have prediabetes. Even small changes in lifestyle can have a huge impact on delaying or preventing diabetes all together. I recommend working with a health care professional to make a plan that works for your lifestyle.”
Controlling Your Blood Pressure
Added weight can also cause hypertension, another condition with little or no symptoms. Hypertension can cause damage to your arteries, especially those in the kidneys and eyes, and if left untreated, is also a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.
Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers. The top number is your systolic blood pressure, or the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, or your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. Generally, a normal blood pressure reading is 120 over 80 and should be less than 140 over 90.
“It’s easy and painless to have your blood pressure measured,” says Dr. Holdych. “Hypertension can be managed with lifestyle changes and losing weight is key to preventing severe complications and adding to life expectancy.”
Although the obesity rate in America keeps rising, the good news is the number of Americans who exercise and eat right is increasing at the same rate. Keeping your weight in check takes a lot of work, but the more success you have, the easier it will be to make healthy choices.