Maybe you were initially motivated to begin your weight loss journey so you could look better in pictures or feel more confident in a swimsuit, but keeping in mind the devastating health effects that can be caused by excess weight may also help you stay motivated to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Losing weight is more than just a matter of appearances; it can also help save your life. Here are a few of the medical conditions you may be able to ease or avoid if you remain committed to your wellness journey.

1. High Blood Pressure And Associated Cardiovascular Problems

The higher your BMI (Body Mass Index), the higher your risk of a medical condition called hypertension, more colloquially know as high blood pressure. This in turn raises your risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the developed world. High blood pressure has also been associated with an increased risk of kidney disease, aneurysms, peripheral arterial disease, congestive heart failure, and vascular dementia. Luckily, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a weight loss of even 10 pounds may reduce your risk!

2. Back Problems

Excess weight in the midsection pulls the pelvis forward, leading obese patients to assume an unnatural posture that exerts more stress on their back. This ultimately raises their risk of serious back problems like herniated discs, spondylosis, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, compression fractures, and lumbar lordosis.

3. Arthritis

The excess pressure obesity puts on your skeletal system raises your risk of osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage around your joints breaks down, causing sufferers pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the affected areas. Excess fat also secretes hormones called adipokines that can contribute to both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis's inflammatory processes.

4. Insomnia

One recent study found that subjects who lost 5% of their weight during a 6 month period experienced gains in both the quantity and quality of their sleep. Reducing your weight can also improve other conditions like back pain and sleep apnea that could be preventing you from getting your much needed rest.

5. Depression

Adults with obesity are 32 percent more likely to have depression than those who are at a healthy weight, which may be in part because of the emotional and physical burdens of obesity and in part because the same hormonal and brain abnormalities may contribute to both. Though it's important to ensure you are also getting adequate mental health care if you are seriously depressed, weight loss can indeed be associated with a measurable decrease in depressive symptoms.

6. Sexual Problems

Excess weight's effect on the circulatory system and on levels of hormones like testosterone means that it is associated with erectile dysfunction in men. Obesity is also associated with lowered sexual desire, less sexual enjoyment, and avoidance of sexual encounters in both genders. Losing weight can lead to increased sexual confidence, increased frequency of sex, and ultimately more sexual satisfaction.

7. Eye Problems

Obesity has been linked with greater prevalence of and worsened outcomes for various eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, age-related maculopathy, and diabetic retinopathy. Increased body fat has also been linked with decreased amounts of antioxidants in the retina, and eating an unhealthy, nutrient-poor diet can also cause vitamin deficiencies that can increase your risk of eye problems.

8. Infertility

Excess weight can disrupt hormone levels in women and contribute to polycystic ovarian syndrome, which makes it more difficult for them to conceive. Overweight women also have an increased risk of miscarriage and of health complications and abnormal birth weight in their children. Obesity can also affect fertility in men by lowering testosterone levels.

9. Diabetes

Excess weight causes the body to become resistant to its own insulin, rendering sufferers unable to process glucose properly. Over time, high blood glucose can damage blood vessels, which can in turn lead to kidney disease, heart failure, muscle wasting, blindness, stroke, and even amputation due to low blood flow to the extremities and resulting infections.

10. Cancer

According to the CDC the inflammation and excess insulin and estrogen associated with obesity increases the risk for at least 13 types of cancers, including colorectal, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, breast, liver, and thyroid cancers. Cancers associated with obesity have been hypothesized to make up to 55% of all cases, and increased body weight has also been linked to increased mortality in cancer patients.
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