Since many health problems are related to obesity, one can easily miss out the ill effects of being underweight. Keep reading to find out how underweight can increase your risk of getting diseases.
Underweight is a condition in which a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) measures less than 18.5. This is caused by certain illnesses like hypothyroidism, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS etc. Certain medicines, excessive exercise & stress, etc. can also lead to this condition. Digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease also results in less weight.
Health problems with being underweight
The health problems are as follows:
- Osteoporosis: According to a study posted in Baltic Journal of Health and Physical Activity, people who are underweight have less bone density. Bones store calcium; it carries out many essential functions of the body. In people who don’t consume calcium, their body uses calcium from the bones. When this happens, the bones become brittle and fragile. This condition is called osteoporosis. This increases the risk of fractures. Also, being underweight disturbs the hormone levels that are responsible for bone building and calcium utilization.
- Immune system deficiency: People who are underweight are generally deficient in proteins, fats, these nutrients are necessary for a healthy immune system. Deficiency of proteins and fats lowers the production of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells fight infectious diseases, a decrease in them makes the person more likely to develop diseases, it also leads to serious diseases like cancer.
- Cardiac abnormalities: For a regular heart beat there should be a proper balance of minerals such as potassium, sodium and calcium inside and outside the heart muscle cells. Chronic malnutrition along with low BMI affects this balance. An incomplete diet makes your body use the heart muscle for energy. This can in turn lead to heart diseases like mitrial valve prolapse, arrhythmias and heart failure.
- Anemia: When the low-BMI is caused by lack of iron, the person can develop anemia. This leads to headaches, dizziness etc.
- Death: According to Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, underweight people of all ages are 1.8 times more likely to die when compared to people with normal BMI.
Hence people who are underweight are at an increased risk of developing life threatening diseases. For more information, consult a dietician online at eVaidya now!
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