High BMI? Does Your BMI Group Put You at Risk?
Do you know your BMI? If so, you may be curious as to whether it’s a healthy range, or a range that puts you at risk for disease and other health problems. As a matter of fact, you’re on the right track! Did you know that:
- People who fall into a certain BMI group are at greater risk of disease?
- Reducing your BMI can also reduce your risk of those diseases?
- Your BMI can help doctors predict your future health complications?
If you know your BMI and are curious as to whether that number puts you into an unhealthy group, keep reading. Here’s everything you need to know about the risk associated with your BMI group.
What is a High BMI?
BMI is calculated quite simply. First, you’ll take your weight in kilograms. Divide that number by your height in meters. Divide that answer by your height in meters one more time. The resulting number will fall somewhere between 18 and 40, in most cases. That number is your BMI.
Once you have your BMI, you can figure out which group you fall into. If your BMI is lower than 18, you’re considered underweight. You should talk to your doctor about a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and adequate exercise, to begin to add a bit more body fat to your body’s composition.
If your BMI falls between around 18.5 to 29.9, congratulations! Your BMI is considered in the “healthy” range. And while that doesn’t preclude the instance of disease, it certainly goes a long way toward ensuring that your body stays healthy.
If your BMI is 30 or higher, you fall into the “overweight” BMI group. Your high BMI does put you at risk of certain diseases, including heart disease and stroke, liver disease, some cancers and diabetes. Furthermore, if your BMI is too high you’re more prone to muscle and joint aches and pains as well as fatigue, depression and more.
Where is the Group for High BMI?
As mentioned, if you fall in the over 30 range for BMI, you’re considered overweight. This range is considered high BMI. But there’s a category even higher than that, and that’s the “morbidly obese” BMI group.
People who are morbidly obese have a BMI of 40 or over. You are also considered morbidly obese if you’re over 100 above the ideal weight for your height. For instance, it you’re five feet, seven inches tall, but you weight 260 pounds, you’re considered morbidly obese.
Whether you’re obese or morbidly obese, you’re at risk. Let’s take a look at some of the health risks associated with a high BMI, and what you can do to alleviate those risks.
What is the Potential Risk When BMI is High?
When your BMI is high, you’re putting a lot of extra stress on your body. Your heart is pumping harder to deliver blood to your entire body. Your respiratory system is doing working overtime to oxygenate that blood. Even your joints are carrying more weight than they were designed to handle.
There are a number of health conditions that are associated with – or outright caused by – obesity and a high BMI. The first of these is heart disease. According to research, people who are obese are 10 times more likely to experience a hardening of the arteries. This, called atherosclerosis, causes stroke, clotting and heart attack. Atherosclerosis can be fatal.
Adult onset diabetes is another risk associated with high BMI and obesity. In fact, 90% of people who have Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes are obese. Diabetes can cause heart problems, but it can also cause nerve damage and a host of other ailments, including diabetic coma.
People who are obese are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. The frightening part is that we don’t know exactly why this is. It’s been proven, though, that the risk of certain types of cancer increase with a high BMI and decrease as subjects lose weight.
In addition to the physical effects of BMI on the body, high BMI puts you at risk of depression, as well. Not only does obesity affect your hormonal balance and subsequently your mood, but the condition also contributes to low self-esteem. People who are obese and morbidly obese are more likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders than people in a healthy weight range.
Can High BMI be Deadly?
High BMI absolutely can be deadly. Of course, we’ve mentioned the heart problems, diabetes and depression associated with obesity. In addition to these complications, people with a high BMI are also more likely to lead a lower quality of life.
The most common cause of death in people with a high BMI is heart failure. But there are other ways that carrying excess fat can be deadly. Fatty liver disease is one of these. This disease is similar to the liver disease that affects people who suffer from alcoholism.
Type 2 diabetes can be fatal, too. Drastic spikes and dips in your blood sugar can lead to coma, and diabetic coma can be fatal. It’s estimated that around 4.8 million people globally die from diabetes each year.
Depression kills, too. Studies show that obesity is linked to suicidal tendencies. The studies conclude that those with a higher BMI are more likely to exhibit suicidal tendencies and behaviors, regardless or gender or other factors.
High blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer and even sleep apnea are all associated with a high BMI. And yes, all of these conditions can be fatal.
The science proves it – a high BMI can put you at risk for a great many complications, ranging from sleep complications and insomnia all the way to heart attack and death. If your BMI is currently over 30, you need to take immediate steps to bring that number down to a healthy range.
How Can You Reduce the Risks of High BMI?
How can you reduce the risks associated with a high BMI and obesity? The answer is simple. You can reduce your health risks simply by bringing your BMI down. If your BMI is 30 or more, the time to start is now.
The first thing you’ll want to do is speak to your doctor. Together, you and your doctor can evaluate the lifestyle choices you currently make. What’s keeping you in an unhealthy BMI group? Are there changes you can make, other than diet and exercise, which may facilitate the weight loss process?
Once you and your doctor have ruled out health issues and external factors, it’s time to make some changes to reduce the health risks of a high BMI.
Follow a Healthy Diet
It should go without saying that the first step to reducing your risk of illness and death associated with BMI is to begin to eat healthy, well-balanced foods. You can start doing this even before you talk to your doctor. Just make simple changes, like cutting out soft drinks and sugary snacks. Avoid fatty foods like potato chips, and reach for an unsweetened green tea in the morning instead of a latte.
Just these few small changes can make a huge difference in the long run. As you begin to make small changes, develop a nutrition plan with your health care practitioner to begin to make the bigger changes.
Now, we’re not saying that smoking is causing you to have a high BMI. What we are saying, however, is that if you quit smoking, you’re going to further reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. Why fan the flames, right?
Get Some Exercise
First, though, you’ll want to check with your doctor to be sure that exercise is safe for you. Once you’re cleared, begin with some low-impact exercise like walking or swimming to begin restoring your BMI to a healthy level.
The risks associated with a high BMI are potentially extremely serious. Obesity causes disease, and many of those diseases can be fatal. Knowing your BMI is just the first step to reducing your risk of obesity-related diseases.