Essay Preview: Obesity
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Obesity is defined as an excess of total body fat. While there are several accepted methods to determine total body fat, the most practical method is the Body Measurement Index (BMI). Though the relationship between BMI and the risk of other diseases varies from person to person, the general measurement can be used to predict risk with a large measure of accuracy.
During studies performed in recent years, it has been determined that physical obesity in the United States is steadily increasing. Weight gain occurs mainly in the young and middle-age populace and cut across all subgroups regardless of age, ethnicity, geographic location or socioeconomic background. Experts in the field tend to point to a more sedentary life style and poor eating habits as the underlying cause for the increase in obesity.
There are many health hazards associated with obesity. Cardiovascular
Disease such as Coronary Artery Disease and Congestive Heart Failure, high blood
pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, respiratory dysfunctions and certain forms of cancer
have all been linked to obesity. Obesity and weight gain positively increase the risk of
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease is a build up of plaque in the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque is an excess of cholesterol, calcium and other substances that flow in the blood and over time, these substances build up on the inside walls of the coronary arties and other arties as well. When plaque builds up it is called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. The plaque build-up decreases the space in the arteries in which the blood flows. Poor blood flow or circulation to the heart deprives it of oxygen and causes chest pains or angina. When there is absolutely no blood flow to the heart it is called a heart attack. The blockage is usually caused by a blood clot that has formed over the plaque.
Some of the signs of cardiovascular disease are chest pain or angina, tightness or a sharp pain may occur. Shortness of breath is also a symptom. Discomfort or pain that radiates in one or both arms, shoulder neck or jaw can be a sign too. Obesity treatments are based on different factors. Lifestyle changes such as changing exercise habits, seeking physicals and reducing stress will help with obesity. Patients may have to be placed on medicines. Medicines like aspirins and ones that lower cholesterol aids in treating cardiovascular disease.
There some special procedures like angioplasty, which opens blocked and narrow arteries, allow more blood to flow to the heart. There is also the coronary artery bypass surgery. This surgery allows physicians to remove a vein from another part of the body and use it to bypass the narrowing artery.
The majority of obese African Americans have to struggle with high cholesterol.
About 45 percent of African American adults have high cholesterol. It has been estimated that up to 40% of African Americans have never had their cholesterol tested. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is found in the cells of the body. The body makes all the cholesterol it needs which is considered the good cholesterol. However there is also bad cholesterol (LDL) that builds up in the arteries (plaque) which raises the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
High cholesterol in the African American community is developed mainly by the life styles they develop. A typical African American was raised on pork chops, ham, bar-b-que ribs, fried chicken, hot wings smothered in hot sauce, collard greens with fat back, high calorie desserts, and dont forget the red kool-aid to wash all that down. This lead to lots of sodium dumped in the body, which helps the cholesterol build up.
Heavy smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol contributes to the bad cholesterol building up in the arteries.
With all the contributing factors that produce high cholesterol in overweight African Americans, a person must be willing to change the habits to reduce this disease.
Regular checks on the cholesterol levels