Weight Loss to Prevent Disease
June 2021 Issue - Paisley Prescriptions
Weight Loss to Prevent Disease
We’ve all heard that being overweight is unhealthy, and weight loss can help prevent illness and disease, but how? We asked local medical experts to weigh in on the advantages of losing weight. Looking good on the beach is just a fringe benefit!
by Diane G. Bowen, MD
How does being overweight increase risk for Cancer?
According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men in the United States.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of cancer because:
• There is inflammation in the body.
• Cell and blood vessel growth is impacted.
• The cells’ life span is stunted.
• Increased levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, fuels cell growth.
• Because of all listed above, cancer cells can spread or metastasize.
The link between body weight and cancers that effect the endocrine system are higher. These cancers include breast cancer, especially in women past menopause, uterine and ovarian cancer, thyroid and prostate cancers, as well. Other cancers that are common in people who are overweight include colon and rectal cancer, esophagus, gallbladder and kidney cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box.
How does losing weight help with Cancer?
Weight loss can reduce the risk of some types of cancers such as breast cancer, especially after menopause, and endometrial cancers. The changes that occur in the body because of weight loss reduce levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens and androgens. It is important to have your hormone levels checked and monitored, especially during or after menopause to ensure your levels are balanced. Even small amounts of weight loss at a time have health benefits and is a good place to start.
Diane G. Bowen, MD, is owner of Centered on Wellness and Golden Isles Center for Plastic Surgery, PC—1015 Arthur J. Moore Drive on St. Simons Island. Website: www.drdianebowen.com or call 912.638.0034; 912.634.1993.
by Harold L. Kent, MD
How does being overweight increase risk for Diabetes?
In a person of normal weight, insulin helps to move blood sugar into cells to be used for energy. Insulin also signals the liver to store sugar for later use and supplies muscles with an energy source. A person who is physically active will use more sugar for energy than a sedentary person. When blood sugar enters body cells, the levels in the bloodstream decrease and less insulin is produced.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are obesity and (independent of obesity) a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity leads to insulin resistance by processes which contribute to inflammation and the production of antibodies to insulin. As obesity increases, insulin production increases, but eventually not enough insulin can be produced to move sugar into the cells of the body and blood sugar increases. Excess sugar gets stored as body fat, weight increases, diabetes gets worse and a person will develop symptoms of frequent urination, thirst and hunger.
How does losing weight help with Diabetes?
Inflammation and resistance to insulin will start to decrease with weight loss. Causes of inflammation, which lead to insulin resistance, will also decrease and cells will become more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Fat cells will decrease in size and become more responsive to the effects of circulating insulin. Avoiding simple carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta and foods made with flour and sugar) will decrease fluctuations in blood sugar and hunger due to "sugar crashes.” A ketogenic type diet will contribute to weight loss and result in a person being able to use fat for energy, which ultimately results in weight loss. Increasing activity will help to burn excess blood sugar and will also lead to enhanced weight loss. Type 2 diabetes will improve with reversal of the factors which led to its development. Weight loss of 7 to 10 percent of body weight can result in significant improvement of Type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Harold L. Kent, specializing in Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick, Ga., 912-264-9724. Website: Georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa.
by Phillip P. Amodeo, MD
How does being overweight increase risk for Heart Disease/Stroke?
Being overweight increases the risks for multiple major risk factors for stroke, including hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Over time these conditions can damage both cerebral, as well as coronary, vessels. Cardiovascular disease also can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, specifically atrial fibrillation, which is another major risk factor for stroke.
How does losing weight help with Heart Disease/Stroke?
Weight loss can improve hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes in many patients, and therefore, slow or prevent further ongoing damage to the cerebral and cardiac vasculature.
Phillip P. Amodeo, M.D., board-certified neurologist at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates–Neurology and medical director for the Southeast Georgia Health System Stroke Progra
by Beau Sasser, MD
How does being overweight increase risk
for Joint Problems?
This is really just basic physics. Normally when we walk we put three times our body weight across our hips and knees. This increases to five times body weight when we climb stairs and running is upwards of seven times your body weight across your joints. Therefore, if you are 50 to 100 pounds overweight, that is the equivalent of placing upwards of 300 pounds of extra weight across the joints. In more relevant terms, this would be like strapping six 50-pound bags of dog food on each leg and trying to walk. The daily increased stress leads to inflammation of the joints, cartilage breakdown and bone-on-bone arthritis.
How does losing weight help with Joint Problems?
Just the reverse from the above. For every pound a person loses, they take three to five pounds off their knees and hips. There are a few studies that actually show the weight loss doesn't have to be dramatic to see the benefits. If someone loses 10 to 15 pounds, which equals 30 to 45 pounds off the joints, there can be a significant decrease in pain, allowing for increased activity and a healthier lifestyle.
Beau Sasser, M.D., board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery and medical director for the Southeast Georgia Health System Sports Medicine Program
by John Limburg, MD
How does being overweight increase risk
for Sleep Apnea?
• Fatty tissue buildup in the tongue and throat leads to airway obstruction.
• Obesity decreases lung volumes.
• Complications of obesity, such as hypertension and diabetes, can cause vascular changes that can lead to fluid buildup in the throat and upper airway leading to obstruction.
How does losing weight help with Sleep Apnea?
• Weight loss reduces fatty tissue buildup in the tongue.
• Reversal of complication effects.
• Increased lung volume.
How does being overweight increase risk for Incontinence?
• Obesity causes increased abdominal pressure,
which can worsen pelvic weakness.
• Medications to treat obesity complications, such as hypertension and diabetes, can cause bladder irritation, or increased urinary frequency, which can worsen incontinence.
How does losing weight help with Incontinence?
• Reduced abdominal pressure.
• Reduced dependence on medications to control complications.
John Limburg, M.D., board-certified family medicine physician, Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care