You don’t need to be told you weigh too much; you see the evidence every time you look in the mirror.
But a spare tire and pants that don’t fit anymore only tell one part of the story. Inside your body, a lot’s going on that could be sabotaging your health, from head to toe.
1. Stroke. Obesity promotes fatty deposits in the arteries leading to your brain, which can block blood flow and result in stroke.
2. Sleep apnea. Being overweight leads to a larger neck and narrowed airways, which increases your risk for sleep apnea—you stop breathing for short periods as you sleep.
3. High blood pressure, heart attack. Fatty deposits narrow arteries surrounding your heart, making your heart work harder to pump blood. That raises your blood pressure and increases your risk for heart attacks.
4. Gallstones. Obesity raises your cholesterol, which accumulates in the gallbladder and results in a higher gallstone risk.
5. Cirrhosis. You don’t have to be a heavy drinker to get cirrhosis, which is scarring and fibrosis of the liver. Excess fat builds up in your liver, which can lead to permanent damage.
6. Degenerative joint disease. Excess weight strains your body’s joints, wearing away protective cartilage in the knees, hips and lower back.