BMI or Body Mass Index is a mode of measurement. This method is used to measure the total amount of fat in the body. The measurement is an easy process, in which the body weight is divided by the height of the person. For that, the body weight is measured in kilograms and the body height is measured in square meter (m2).

The difference between the BMI of two persons belonging to the same sex and age indicates the difference between the amounts of body fat. However, in case of body builders, pregnant women and high performance athletes, the BMI will be overestimated. On the contrary, the BMI calculation may also be underestimated in case of people with disorders like anorexia or people with obesity.

Health Risks of High BMI

BMI and Their Indications

  • BMI Under 18.5: Underweight and possibly malnourished.
  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy weight range for middle-aged adults and young people.
  • BMI Range of 25.0 to 29.9: Overweight.
  • BMI Over 30: Obese.

Health Risks of High BMI

High BMI indicates that you are either overweight or obese. These are serious conditions that affect your well-being. There are a number of health hazards possible in case of a high BMI. These health complications include –

  • Coronary Heart Disease as a Risk of High BMI: With an increase in BMI or body mass index, also increases the risk of your heart diseases, especially coronary heart disease that is known as CHD. In case of CHD or coronary heart disease, a waxy substance called plaque is built up on the inside wall of the arteries of your heart. These arteries are supposed to supply oxygenated blood to the heart.

As the plaque narrows down the arteries and blocks its passage, it reduces the flow of blood to the heart. This can lead to heart attack or angina, in which you encounter discomfort and pain in the chest. In case of severe artery blockage, there can be complete heart failure as the body doesn't receive enough blood.

  • High Blood Pressure is Yet Another Health Risk of High BMI: When the heart pumps blood, the blood pushes against the wall of the arteries. This force of the blood is known as blood pressure. When you have obesity or if you are overweight, which is indicated by a high BMI, it is very likely that the high fat deposition in your body will block the arteries and minimize or reduce the flow of blood through these arteries. This will increase the blood pressure. High blood pressure over a prolonged period of time will lead to a number of health hazards.
  • Stroke: With high BMI and excessive fat deposition in the body, the health risk of strokes is also increased. Obesity or being overweight builds plaque on the inside wall of the arteries. The plaque in some areas can get ruptured and causes blood clots in the arteries. These blood clots, if caused on the arteries that supplies blood to the major organs, blocks the flow of blood leading to strokes.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Research studies have proven that there is a direct association of high BMI with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease and is often referred to as silent killer and is an associated health risk of high BMI. In this disease, the blood glucose level in the body is too high and the insulin hormone fails to utilize this glucose level to carry it to the cells and turn it into energy. To help the utilization of the blood glucose level, the body initially increases the secretion of insulin hormone. However, it still fails to work on the glucose or control the glucose level. Gradually the production or secretion of insulin hormone is also reduced. Consequently, a number of other disorders take place.
  • Cancer: Breast cancer, colon cancer, gallbladder and endometrial cancer are some of the different types of cancer that are often associated with excessive body weight and high BMI.
  • Metabolic Syndrome and High BMI: This is a group of condition that usuallyoccur together. These factors together can lead to stroke and diabetes and other serious troubles and health risks. These factors are –
    • Higher than normal triglyceride.
    • Lower than normal HDL.
    • Higher than normal blood sugar level.
    • Higher than normal blood pressure.
    • A large and apple-shaped waistline.
  • Sleep Apnea Due to High BMI: Sleep apnea is a condition that most people with a high BMI suffer from. Sleep apnea refers to a trouble in breathing, in which breathing is shallow and paused during sleep. The reason behind this is the excessive amount of fat that is stored around the neck that actually blocks the airway.
  • High BMI Poses a Risk for Osteoarthritis: Due to the excessive body weight of the person with a high BMI, the joints of the knees, hips, and lower back wear away, as more weight is put on these joints causing osteoarthritis. It also causes severe pain in the joints.
  • Gallstones: With high BMI and high cholesterol or fat deposition in the body, there is a high chance for the patients with high BMI to have gallstones. These are stones made out of cholesterol and they cause pain in the stomach and in the back. Not just the gallstone, but also the enlarged gallbladder, caused by the excessive body weight and high BMI, causes trouble in the functioning of the gallbladder.
  • Reproductive Problems Associated with High BMI: People with high BMI or simply people who are obese or overweight, often undergo reproductive problems. Infertility in women is often caused by high BMI.
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome: Along with sleep apnea, Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome is another problem that people with high BMI or obese people suffer from. Due to disturbed breathing, they have too much of CO2 in the blood and too little of oxygen. If this condition is not diagnosed on time or not treated, it can even lead to death.

With so many health risks associated with high BMI, it is very important that you maintain a normal BMI level. For that, diet and exercise play a very important role. High BMI or obesity is a serious condition and must not be ignored.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 11, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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