Weight Loss and Me

Did you know that more than one-third (34.9%) of Americans are considered obese?1

Weight loss may significantly decrease the severity of and risk factors for obesity-related diseases. Obesity is a complex disease and is not defined by a single cause, but rather a range of contributing factors, including energy imbalance, genetics, inactive lifestyle, lack of sleep, health conditions, medicines, age, and emotional factors. The OPTIFAST® program succeeds because it treats the whole patient, focusing on more than just weight.

Reasons to Lose Weight

Being overweight or obese can affect your basic health and quality of life.2

The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to be faced with obesity-related health risks. That's why weight management is so important: it can help lower your chances of developing certain health problems, and even help you manage some conditions you already have.

You're not alone. You can get the help you need from OPTIFAST® — and you have the examples of many others who have faced similar challenges and learned to manage their weight and live healthier lives.

It’s not about how you look, it’s about your health

Obesity and...

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) makes your heart work harder and puts a strain on your arteries. Over time, high blood pressure can put you at risk for stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.

If you're overweight or obese, it increases your chances of having high blood pressure. If you're obese and have diabetes or high cholesterol, you have a much greater risk of heart attack or stroke.

The good news is many of the risk factors for high blood pressure are within your control. With an effective program, you may be able to lose enough weight to recognize improvements in your overall health. You can minimize other risk factors by:

  • Becoming more active
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Eating less salt
  • Keeping your stress levels down

Dyslipidemia is a condition in which three important fats found in your bloodstream are out of balance:

  • Levels of LDL cholesterol, also called "bad cholesterol," are too high
  • Levels of triglycerides are too high
  • Levels of HDL cholesterol, also called "good cholesterol," are too low

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have high cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease, as well as diabetes.

Fortunately, a lot can be done to bring these risks down and get your cholesterol to where it should be, including:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition and determine if medication is an option
  • If you smoke, quit, or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

Metabolic syndrome may be diagnosed when a patient has a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Individuals with metabolic syndrome have a two-fold increase in risk for heart attack or stroke, and a five-fold increased risk for developing diabetes when compared with individuals who do not have metabolic syndrome.

If you have three or more of the following risk factors, you may have metabolic syndrome:

  • A waistline of 40 inches and over for men, 35 inches and over for women
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL "good" cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes

One out of four adults has metabolic syndrome. Many have managed to reduce their risks to avoid disease by taking action. If you have metabolic syndrome, the most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition and determine if medication is an option
  • If you smoke, quit or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

Type 2 diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and blindness. More than 85% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese.

If you have metabolic syndrome or are otherwise at risk for developing type 2 diabetes — or even if you've already been diagnosed — you can take positive steps to minimize your risks or get the condition under control.

The most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition and determine if medication is an option
  • Diet modification
  • If you smoke, quit, or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active
  • Testing your blood sugar

Reducing your weight by 5 to 10%, and exercising for 30 minutes a reference, 5 days a week, can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes — even if you are at high risk.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease. If you're overweight or obese, you're more likely to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol — the most common risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Simply carrying extra body fat — especially around your waist — can lead to inflammation, which in turn can raise your risk of heart disease. If you have coronary heart disease, your heart and your circulation no longer work as well as they should, and your arteries may have hardened and become narrower. Coronary heart disease can lead to:

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Sudden cardiac death

Coronary heart disease is a serious health challenge — it's the number one cause of death in the U.S. — but you can take action to prevent it or manage it. According to the National Institutes of Health, reducing your weight by just 5 to 10 percent can substantially lower your risk of developing heart disease. The most important steps to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition, including contributing factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and determine if medication is an option
  • If you smoke, quit, or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Becoming more active

When a stroke happens, a blockage or a break in a blood vessel in your brain prevents blood from flowing where it needs to flow. Your tissues are cut off from the oxygen they need. In the worst case, a stroke can cause paralysis or death. In fact, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

It's easier to take steps to prevent a stroke than it is to recover from one. You can lower your chances of having a stroke by taking action. Work with your doctor to set up a plan that includes slow, steady weight loss. Reducing your weight by just 5 to 10 percent can substantially lower your risk of having a stroke.

The most important steps to take include:

  • Meeting with your doctor to evaluate your condition and determine if medication is an option
  • If you smoke, quit or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Becoming more active

If you're overweight or obese, your risk for gallbladder disease — typically an inflamed or infected gallbladder, with gallstones — is higher. Since gallstones are made of cholesterol, if you have high cholesterol, it can add to your risk of getting gallstones and feeling the discomfort that comes with them.

Whether you have gallbladder disease or want to prevent it, you can take positive steps to take it easy on your gallbladder. The most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

When it comes to fertility and pregnancy issues, being overweight or obese can lead to:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes
  • Difficulties during labor and delivery
  • High birth weight infants
  • Increased risk of certain birth defects

If you are planning to become pregnant, you can take positive steps to minimize these risks, including:

  • Working with your doctor and your obstetrician to evaluate your condition and determine if medication is an option
  • Managing your weight
  • If you smoke, quit, or enroll in a cessation program to help you quit
  • Taking folic acid and other supplements, if appropriate
  • Becoming more active

For your joints, more weight means more wear and tear. And more wear and tear means your joints and cartilage can literally start to disintegrate under the pressure. That means pain, and loss of easy movement.

The good news? Arthritis symptoms may improve when you lose weight. If you have osteoarthritis, you can take steps that will help you take it easy on your joints and cartilage, including:

  • Working with your doctor and your orthopedist to evaluate your condition
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

If you are overweight or obese, your risk for sleep apnea, asthma, and other breathing problems is higher.

If you have sleep apnea, your airway narrows or closes while you are asleep, and your breathing stops — sometimes many times during the night. It's more than just loud snoring with sudden pauses. Sleep apnea can lead to:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Impotence
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease

If you have sleep apnea, asthma, or other breathing problems, you can take positive steps to minimize your risks or get the condition under control. The most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene

Many people understand that being overweight or obese can add to your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary heart disease — but few are aware of the link to cancer. If you are overweight or obese, your risk for these cancers is higher:

  • Esophagus
  • Pancreas
  • Colon and Rectum
  • Endometrium (uterine)
  • Kidney
  • Breast (in postmenopausal women)

If you know your risks, you can take positive steps to minimize them. The most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to set up an appropriate screening schedule so you can catch cancer at an early, treatable stage
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

Being overweight or obese can put your health at risk. In addition to the well-known health issues linked to obesity, there are other health and lifestlye issues that overweight or obese people are more likely to face. These include:

  • "Pre-diabetes"
  • Depression
  • Liver disease
  • Incontinence
  • Increased risk when having surgery
  • Premature death
  • Reduced endurance and vigor
  • Limited mobility
  • Making it more difficult to stay involved socially
  • Increased number of health challenges you deal with daily

If you are facing health issues because you are overweight or obese, you can take positive steps to minimize your risks or get the condition under control. The most important actions to take include:

  • Working with your doctor to evaluate your condition
  • Managing your weight
  • Becoming more active

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