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My guest this week is Dr. Bennet Togbe, a board-certified bariatric surgeon and obesity expert who works with me at Prime Surgicare. We're discussing how excess weight can be a key contributor to the onset of several serious medical conditions.
"Excess weight means there is extra fat in the body," explains Dr. Togbe. "Extra fat secretes extra hormones, which can serve as the starting point for many serious diseases."
From high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and arthritis, to cancer and obstructive sleep apnea, obesity is a common precursor to more medical problems.
Certain hormones, particularly in excess, can wreak havoc on weight loss and weight maintenance:
Leptin is a hormone that diminishes the feeling of satiety, or when you feel full and stop eating. When you don't feel full after eating a meal, what happens?
Ghrelin, the "hunger hormone," is another hormone secreted from fat cells. Do you feel hungry all the time? You can blame this hormone, more than likely.
Cortisol, again produced by fat cells, is the body's chief stress hormone that also controls how your body processes carbs, fats, and proteins. Because it's the hormone responsible for protecting you, its actions increase your appetite.
Obesity causes a reduction in the hormone Insulin, which can result in one of the most common diseases brought on by carrying excess weight, diabetes.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in many overweight people, especially when the neck circumference is greater than 17 inches. Basically, there is too much fat in the neck and airways to allow for optimal and consistent breathing during sleep.
Finally, many people are surprised to learn that obesity increases the risk of several types of cancer, especially breast, colon, prostate and endometrium.
Why? Once again, extra fat cells emit extra hormones into the body causing inflammation, which can be the starting point for cancer cells to be established.
One of the best strategies to prevent the onset of several chronic diseases is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. When you have fewer excess fat cells, there is far less hormone production and resulting inflammation, often the starting point for many chronic medical conditions.