Hearing, vision, and...obesity?


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We all know that obesity can have serious health risk such as heart disease, high cholesterol and increased risk of early death. According to a new study, obesity can cause other serious problems too, such as loss of vision and hearing.

 

Hearing loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, can be prevented by remaining at a healthy weight and by exercising regularly. A study was conducted which measured physical activity, body mass index, waist circumference, and hearing loss and included more than 68,000 women. The women were tracked for 20 years. The study showed that those with a higher BMI were at a 17-40 percent higher risk of hearing loss. It showed that women with a bigger waist circumference also had a higher risk for hearing loss, between an 11-27 percent increase. Walking for two hours a week can lower the risk by more than 15%. This study, however, did not account for genetics or other risk factors, such as a working environment with loud volumes. Women with these third-variables should be exempt from the study's reported results.

 

According to another study, obesity can also increase the risk for loss of vision. Obesity is related to the creation of cataracts, which act as a thin film over the eye and impair vision. Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is another disease of the eye that can be caused by obesity. ARMD causes loss of central vision, and that even a 0.1 increase in the waist/hip ratio increased the risk of ARMD by over 75%. In addition, obesity can cause diabetes, which can cause damage to a blood vessel inside the retina. This study was not described in depth, so it is hard to say whether or not third variables were taken into consideration or whether they would impact the results.

 

Neither of these articles delved into the actual biological mechanism behind the results. If I were to hypothesize, I would say that it was due to the body working harder to do so many other things because of the increased body weight, that it put too much stress on the other parts of the body, such as the ears and eyes. Or, there could be nutrients in food that, when consumed in large amounts, are dangerous to those parts of the body.

 

It is hard to say what exactly causes these reactions, because the studies didn't specify, but it is safe to say that these are just two more extremely dangerous risks of being overweight and obese. There are so many benefits to losing weight that it is always worth a shot to eat right and exercise.

 

1 Comment

You are correct in pointing out that the studies didn't specify what actually caused their results, and I am very critical of the validity of the study's conclusions. Various third variables certainly could have affected the results. In the case of obesity, I hypothesize that a decrease in functions such as vision and hearing are not caused by obesity, but are related to other factors that also lead to obesity. Obese people are characterized by unhealthy diets, and a disregard for consuming valuable nutrients and vitamins that the body needs in favor of processed, fatty, and sugary foods may not only cause obesity but also a decreased ability in many bodily functions. For example, it is known that vision is improved by consuming foods rich in vitamin A, and obese people are less likely to eat foods high in vitamin A as it is typically found in vegetables. Carefully observing which factors are actually causing the results would improve this study's attempt to accurate measure the relationship between vision, hearing, and obesity.

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