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Consequences of being Overweight & High levels of Cholesterol

January 31, 2012

At InnOrbit we recommend a holistic approach to health…remember there is no “Silver Bullet” cure for any ailment.  You have to eat well, exercise and look after your spiritual/mental health too.

Obesity and Cholesterol

Obesity is responsible for many hundreds of thousands of deaths every year in the West. In the USA the National Center for Health statistics estimates that sixty three percent of Americans are overweight (Body Mass Index (BMI) > 25.0).

The Consequences of being Overweight
Carrying around excess weight to the point of being obese is becoming an epidemic in many countries. Apart from self esteem, the longer you are overweight the more medical problems are going to arise.

Overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents. Thus, increasing the number of years that people will be exposing themselves to health risks associated with obesity. There is strong scientific evidence that obesity significantly increases the risk of serious chronic diseases and contributes to overall mortality.
Below we have highlighted several diseases that can be attributed to obesity:

  • Diabetes can lead to a range of medical complications and obesity is one of the main causes due to the body having excess glucose due to overeating.
  • Cancer.
  • Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to organs.
  • Enlarged Heart is another heart condition where the muscle of the heart become larger due to being overworked which naturally happens if you are overweight.
  • Pulmonary Embolism is a blockage of an artery. Being overweight causes most people to reduce activity and after time lack of activity can result in an embolism.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
  • Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease is common in overweight people.
  • Fatty Liver Disease is a reversible condition where large pockets of fat accumulate in liver cells.
  • Hernia is caused when the hole in the diaphragm weakens and enlarges.
  • Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to develop or maintain an erection which can be caused by a medical problem due to obesity.
  • Chronic Renal Failure meaning the kidneys fail to work is a much greater risk to those that are overweight or obese.
  • Lymph edema is a condition that occurs from a damaged or dysfunctional lymphatic system.
  • Cellulitis is clinically a spreading infection involving both the dermis and subcutaneous tissues due poor lymph flow.
  • Stroke is a lack of blood supply.
  • Pickwickian Syndrome is mainly characterized by sleep apnea due to obesity placing an excessive load on the pulmonary system.
  • Depression.
  • Osteoarthritis is inflammation in the joints.
  • Gallbladder Disease commonly affects overweight people as a result of high blood cholesterol levels.


What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells and found in certain foods, like eggs and meat.

Cholesterol, in small amounts, is necessary to maintain some systems functioning properly. For example cell walls need cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat.  Too much Cholesterol will manifest itself as health problems such as heart disease.

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol at high levels can produce plaques (hard deposits) in the arteries thus narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart. This buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease.

If there is not enough blood reaching the heart this can cause chest pain (angina).  If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off the result is a heart attack. Normally this closure is due to a blood clot forming on top of a narrowing.

Types of Cholesterol

Cholesterol travels through the blood attached to a protein and is called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins can be classified as high density (HD), low density (LD), or very low density (VLD), and depends the ratio of protein to fat.

  • Low density lipoproteins (LDL): LDL, is “bad” cholesterol and can cause plaque deposits on the walls of arteries. There is a direct corelation with the level of  LDL in the blood to the risk of heart disease.
  • High density lipoproteins (HDL): HDL, is “good” cholesterol and helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood.
  • Very low density lipoproteins (VLDL): VLDL is similar to LDL cholesterol in that it contains mostly fat and not much protein.
  • Triglycerides: Triglycerides are types of fat that are carried in the blood by very low density lipoproteins. Excess calories in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels?

A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:

  • Diet: Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Certain foods will not help (e.g fatty red meat)
  • Weight: Weight a risk factor for heart disease and can also increase your cholesterol. Losing weight helps to lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels and at the same time increase HDL cholesterol.
  • Exercise: Exercise lowers LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
  • Age and Gender: As we age, cholesterol levels tend to rise.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can increase cholesterol levels.
  • Heredity: Genes will also influence the levels of cholesterol your body contains. High levels of  cholesterol can be a genetic trait in certain families.

Prevention Measures:

We have lumped Cholesterol and Overweight in the same article because the measures for controlling them are often the same:

Weight Control

We had a lot of interest on a couple of our previous blog posts on dieting and weight control and here.  We have summarised the main points below:

  • Dieting (restriction of calories and/or focus on one food type) can be unhealthy as what can happen is that you focus on quitting food and not on eating “balanced” meals.  Just eating one type of food can be bad for your health because you may be missing out on vitamins and other essential nutrients.
  • Psychologically this can be a bad time for you too and exacerbating circumstances (e.g. family or work stress) could force you to return to overeating and gaining more weight that you had in the first place!
  • Being overweight or obese can lead to other health complications: Heart disease, Diabetes, Depression, conditions associated with inflammation etc.

The solution is simple but quite difficult to implement:

  • Many people are used to eating high carb/high fat foods and not doing exercise.  This “chain” needs to be broken.
  • You need to teach your body to burn more fat than it is storing – i.e. eat less fats in combination with burning more fats.
  • Lower intake of fats especially saturated and trans-fats. And eat more lower High Glycemic Index Carbohydrates.   Basically this means reducing levels of simple sugars and increase complex carbohydrates (Think sugary cakes v. green vegetables).  Check out our sister blog for more info on Glycemic Index.
  • Exercise (walk, cycle, swim, play with the kids….move!)
  •  Eat more foods that satiate = vegetables that have  low Glycemic Index (Cauliflower, etc).  Drinking an infusion can also help to feel “full” and some infusions have natural herbs (Green tea,Garcinia and Caralluma etc) that can help in this respect. See Slim&Fit Article for more info.
  • Balance is better than concetrating on one type of food. Eat a range of food types like Vegetables, Fruit ,Fish and low fat meat e.g. chicken etc.

Cholesterol Control:

The above measures for weight control will also hold true for controlling levels of Cholesterol.  However, specifically  you can:
  • Exercise
  • Ingest certain food types: oats, soy, fish and certain nuts

Use of natural herbs: 

“The above ingredients, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can help to control weight and cholesterol levels.  These natural ingredients have key functionality for the InnOrbit drink SLIM&FIT.” Dr A. Ward (InnOrbit)

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