Sure, medical or surgical weight loss can help you look better in your jeans. But a trimmer figure is only one of the benefits of losing weight. Obesity health risks are a serious issue, and shedding pounds can help you minimize or even avoid them.
“All of the data suggests that even losing a modest amount of weight can be significant,” said Amanda Powell, MD, the director of Medical Weight Loss at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. In fact, dropping just 7 to 10 percent of your initial body weight can reduce or prevent a good deal of obesity health risks. (For a 250-pound adult, that represents a loss of just 25 pounds.) That’s true even if you’re morbidly obese and have a lot of weight to lose.
What kinds of positive perks can you expect? Here’s a look at some of the important health benefits of losing weight.
Your Heart Will Get a Healthy Boost
Being overweight or obese makes you more likely to have heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Slimming down can help get these numbers in a healthier range. As a result, your overall heart disease risk starts to go down, Dr. Powell explained. You may also be able to lower your necessary dosage medications related to these health problems or even stop taking them altogether.
You’ll Lower Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Obesity is a top risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, so getting your weight under control is one of the best ways to keep this disease at bay. In fact, a study of obese patients participating in the Diabetes Prevention Program found that those who lost 7 percent of their body weight slashed their diabetes risk by nearly 60 percent.
“When you lose weight, you can become more sensitive to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar,” said Dr. Powell. Better insulin sensitivity helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking too high, which lowers the chances of developing diabetes.
You’ll Have More Energy to Be Active
You likely know regular exercise can help improve your health. Carrying extra weight, however, can make physical activity more tiring and put more strain on your joints. The discomfort is enough to force some people to avoid being active altogether.
Losing weight literally lightens your load, which makes moving a whole lot more comfortable, Dr. Powell said. As a result, you might feel more motivated to adopt a regular exercise routine. That can help boost your weight loss progress even more.
A Better Night’s Sleep Might Come Easier
Sleep apnea is more likely to affect folks who are overweight or obese. Why? Having excess weight around your neck or chest area increases the chance that your airway will become blocked while you snooze. That can lead to pauses in breathing that can disrupt your sleep, Dr. Powell said. Shedding that excess weight helps to prevent those blockages and make it easier to breathe. So you sleep better at night — and feel more refreshed in the morning.
The bottom line: If your weight loss journey needs a jumpstart, talk with your doctor and make an appointment at the Medical Weight Loss Center, which offers personalized plans for a healthier lifestyle. Together you can discuss medical, surgical and other options to start dropping pounds and improving your health.