How Obesity May Affect Men’s Health

The negative effect of obesity in men is similar in many aspects to that in women. Obesity may cause health issues affecting the following body systems:
• Cardiovascular system – hypertension, heart failure, stroke, myocardial infarction, varicose veins of the lower extremities;
• Metabolism – type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis, gout;
• Respiratory system – breathlessness, sleep apnea;
• Musculoskeletal system – arthritis, degenerative disk disease;

The bare list of various diseases associated with obesity is rather conspicuous; however, there is one pretty serious complication of obesity that concerns men only – sexual dysfunction, including decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Moreover, obesity causes a significant decrease in sperm quantity and quality, so it reduces fertility. The thing is that obesity is tightly linked to low testosterone level. It means that men who are obese are more likely to have decreased level of testosterone in blood and vice versa – those who have low testosterone are more likely to suffer from excess weight. Adipose tissue cells have special enzyme that converts testosterone into female sex hormone called estradiol. In addition, obesity lowers the levels of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), a protein carrying testosterone in the blood.

And, last but not least, obesity affects the health of the prostate gland. Researchers have found a link between obesity and benign prostatic hyperplasia men with bigger bellies tend to have bigger prostates. Another research from all over the world have shown that excess weight increases the risk of developing prostate cancer – being obese increases the risk by 20% and being severely obese – by 34%.