Are Extra Pounds Weighing Down Your Immune System?

January 17, 2018


It probably comes as no surprise that losing weight and getting healthy is high on the list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. And like so many promises we make to ourselves, it’s usually easier said than done. At American Family Care, we see the effects of obesity every day. High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes are all commonly known side effects of obesity. But what might surprise you is the role obesity plays in the ordinary, garden-variety, common cold.

Fighting the Good Fight

The common cold, along with the flu and other respiratory illnesses, is one of the most common reasons for a visit to an American Family Care clinic. There are dozens of different cold viruses…all of them waiting for a chance to invade your body and wreak havoc. When the virus invades, your immune system is designed to go into high alert. It sends antibodies to take action and eliminate the virus. But in people who are obese, this reaction doesn’t always go off without a hitch.

Obesity and Immunity

Obesity is a complex disease. Researchers are uncovering more and more ways that it disrupts our bodies. In particular, researchers are examining obesity and the immune system. Obesity itself has been shown to impair immunity. Studies have shown that a person affected by obesity that eats healthy and exercises is still at risk for decreasing immune function. Researchers know that it has an effect on our bodies, but they’re not altogether certain just how it all plays out.

Disturbing Results

It was the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 that truly alerted health officials to the major role obesity plays in immune response. According to the CDC, during that deadly time, “reports from the United States and abroad suggested that obesity was more frequent among persons hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 disease or who died following a 2009 H1N1 infection.” Since then a number of studies have been conducted, leading researchers to conclude that “people who are obese may be at a higher risk of dying from the 2009 H1N1, even without any other previously recognized high risk conditions. “

Strengthen Your Resolve

As the Obesity Action Coalition puts it: “Obesity is an extremely complex disease and many processes and pathways are altered, any of which could affect the immune system.” So if you’ve made a resolution to lose weight and get healthier, keep in mind all the benefits you’ll reap by keeping your resolve. And if you do find yourself or a loved one sniffing and sneezing this year, get the right care, right now.


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