Sexy Beasts who are significantly overweight are twice as likely to die prematurely. Let me repeat that: twice as likely to die prematurely. Like 100 percent more often. Got it?
Consider the following:
It was thought that being overweight contributed only indirectly to heart disease. But recent analysis of long-term studies indicate that obesity independently predicts hardening of the arteries, congestive heart failure, and coronary death in adults independent of age, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, and other factors.
Small weight reductions in those who are overweight have been shown to dramatically improve one’s odds. Think what large reductions in weight might do.
You can calculate your risk of having a heart attack in the next ten years here: http://bit.ly/tTWrJy
Strokes are caused when blood supply to a part of the brain is diminished.
There are two basic causes of strokes. Strokes due to a blockage in a blood vessel are called “ischemia strokes.” Strokes due to a leaking of blood are termed “hemorrhagic strokes.”
Symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:
• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg
• Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding (This has nothing to do with blondes.)
• Weakness in the muscles of the face
• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Some strokes, called “silent strokes,” have no outward symptoms but still cause brain damage and can contribute to future strokes.
Being overweight contributes to a man’s chances of suffering a stroke in at least two ways.
Arthrosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries— a condition related to obesity; see “Heart Disease” above—can cause a stroke if arteries to the brain are affected.
Abdominal obesity, often defined in men as having a waist measurement of more than 40 inches, is known to be a potent risk factor in ischemia strokes.
A stroke is a medical emergency. It is best to avoid them.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against your arteries. High blood pressure —also called hypertension—works as a warning sign of possible impending problems: stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and other not-so-fun diseases.
High blood pressure is more common in adults who are overweight or obese than in those who are at a healthy weight.
There are usually no symptoms associated with the condition so it is important to check your blood pressure at least once a year—more often if it is higher than normal.
A blood pressure monitor measures systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic pressure is when your heart beats. Diastolic pressure is between beats. This is usually presented as, say, “120 over 80” or 120/80.
Normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic. Stage 1 high blood pressure is when the systolic is between 140 and 159 and/or the diastolic is between 90 and 99. Stage 2 high blood pressure is when the systolic is above 159 or the diastolic is above 99. If your blood pressure is at the stage 2 level, put down this book and get your butt to a doctor.
There is also something called pre-hypertension. This is when your blood pressure readings are in the middle ground, 120–139 systolic and/or 80–89 diastolic. People with pre-hypertension are 55 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than people with normal readings.
If this is you, take action to lower your blood pressure immediately. Get more exercise, lose weight, limit your salt intake, quit smoking (Gawd! You don’t smoke do you?), watch your alcohol consumption, increase the potassium in your diet (eat more bananas). If this doesn’t get you into the normal range in a few weeks, see your doctor.
It used to be that you had to make a doctor’s appointment to get your blood pressure checked, but today many drugstores have free, self-serve blood pressure machines you can use.
Or, you can buy a monitor at any pharmacy for less than dinner for two at The Olive Garden.
Overweight men have a 25 percent increased risk of death from prostate cancer. Mildly obese men have a 46 percent higher risk. Severely obese men double their risk.
Trust me on this one, no Sexy Beast wants prostate troubles.
Type 2 Diabetes
According to the International Diabetes Foundation, “Diabetes and obesity are the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century.” Eighty to 90 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes are also diagnosed as being overweight.
Diabetes is an ugly disease.
Known as a “multi-systemic” disease, diabetes can affect everything from the kidneys to the eyes. A strong link between diabetes, stroke, and heart disease has been established. The number-one cause of acquired blindness is diabetes.
Even a small weight loss can lessen your chance of becoming a diabetic or reduce the amount of medication you need if you already are diabetic.
Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Being even modestly overweight increases the chances that you’ll have gallstones. Painful gallstone attacks often come at night after a fat-filled meal. A common solution for recurring pain from gallstones is to remove your gallbladder.
Having parts of your body removed is not currently seen by authors of diet books as the best way to reduce your weight.
Two-time NFL defensive player of the year Reggie White, also known as “The Minister of Defense,” was second in career sacks at 198. A huge, powerful Sexy Beast, White stood 6′ 5” and weighed in at 300 pounds—lots of muscle, I’m sure, but still, obese by nearly any standard.
On the morning after Christmas, 2004, The Minister was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. It is thought that sleep apnea, which White had been known to suffer from, contributed to his death.
Sleep apnea sneaks up on you. Often the person suffering from it is the last to know.
Loud snoring is one warning sign, as is being overly tired during the day. But it is usually a bed partner noticing that the sufferer snorts himself awake after he stops breathing that supplies the deciding clue. That, of course, or dying in your sleep.
Being overweight and sleep apnea go hand-in-hand. Studies show losing weight is the single most effective cure for the ailment.
Cartilage is a hard, slippery tissue that allows the bones in our joints to glide over one another. Often severely painful, osteoarthritis occurs when this cartilage breaks down or wears away.
Osteoarthritis in the knee is four to five times more common in overweight people. This is kind of a no-brainer. What do you think carrying a 90-pound bag of cement everywhere you go might do to your knees?
But it doesn’t take 90 pounds; even 10 extra pounds can have a significant impact.
A force of three to six times your body weight is brought to bear across your knee when walking. Ten extra pounds increases the force on the knee by 30 to 60 pounds with each step.
The same effect comes into play with your hips which experience a force estimated to be three times your body weight.
Think of what all your extra tonnage is doing to your poor cartilage.
Mysteriously, being overweight has been linked to hand osteoarthritis. The why of this has yet to be discovered.
Unless you are looking forward to pains and canes as part of your future, it is important to control cartilage damage early. To those of you who are a bit slow, that means maintaining proper body weight.
If you become afflicted with gout, you’ll be in good company.
Over the years, many famous people have suffered from gout including Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who was unable to lead his troops into battle because of his gout attacks. Of course, the cynical of us think that may just have been a cowardly excuse.
Henry VIII who went through many mistresses and six wives—one wife lost her head over him—and Benjamin Franklin, who once wrote a letter to a young man on how to select a mistress—Franklin suggested older women because, “they are so grateful”—were known gout sufferers.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid which forms sharp crystals in your joints. It most often affects the big toe, though it also may occur in the feet, ankles, knees, hands, and wrists. Gout causes the joints to periodically become swollen, red, and hot.
Gout is often hereditary, but, as you might have guessed since you’re reading about it here, extra weight frequently plays a part.
Being overweight causes your body to create more uric acid and reduces your ability to eliminate it. Losing weight helps most gout sufferers and may delay it forever.
Overweight women have it worse when it comes to dying of cancer. It is estimated that 20 percent of deaths from cancer in women are due to being overweight. For men it is 14 percent.
Feeling reassured? I wouldn’t be.
Experts who study these things relentlessly—and only get occasional press for it—have concluded that cancers of the colon, kidney, and esophagus are related to obesity. Some studies show a link between obesity and cancer of the gallbladder and pancreas as well.
Have you seen that Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino? In it Eastwood, still a Sexy Beast even in his codgerhood, chooses how he’ll go out—in a hail of bullets.
I guess every man ought to be able to choose how he’ll die, but cancer of the colon, kidney, or esophagus doesn’t appeal to me. How about you?
There comes a time in every man’s life when…yuck, just talking about it scares me.
Performance anxiety, alcohol, and age can all have a hand in ED, but so can being overweight.
Studies show overweight men are as interested in sex as other men. It’s just that they may not be as able to perform: Eighty percent of men who report having ED are overweight or obese.
This may simply be a body image problem. If a man doesn’t like what he sees in the mirror, it is likely to affect his love life.
But another more sinister problem may be at hand. A penis needs blood to get hard and arteriolosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries mentioned a couple of times above can negatively impact this blood flow.
Hardening of the arteries is a progressive disease, building up over the years. Think about it. When should sex stop for you? Your fifties? Sixties? Seventies? You choose.
I first met Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the famed sexologist, at a Playboy party in Chicago. A buddy of mine had an invitation and he could take a friend. An ensemble played soft jazz and sophisticated guests conversed quietly as sexy Bunnies mingled in the crowd. The wine was French. The hors d’oeuvres leaned toward iced seafood and imported cheeses.
Dr. Ruth stood across the room talking to a tall man in a suit. Well, he looked tall next to her, but everyone looks tall next to the exceptionally diminutive sexpert.
My friend, who had been partaking of the free le vin a bit too freely and who I suspect didn’t know Dr. Ruth, offered to introduce me so over we went.
The second sentence out of my mouth was a suggestion she write a book for The Best Half of Life series, a string of titles I was publishing aimed at those over 50. The eventual result was Dr. Ruth’s Sex After 50: Revving Up the Romance, Passion & Excitement!
I mention this for two reasons, one, I’m trying to impress you with the fact that I once went to a Playboy party and two, in Sex After 50 Dr. Ruth pointed out something I’d never thought of: Fat men have shorter penises.
Well, they don’t actually have shorter penises, it is just that less of it is, uh…accessible. To borrow from Dr. Ruth: In men of normal weight, about a third of the penis is buried underneath the skin. But as a man gets fatter less and less of the penis is exposed.
If you lose weight, not only will your dong seem longer, you’ll gain more energy for lovemaking.
Ok, if all of that hasn’t gotten you motivated, consider this: The brain in overweight people shrinks quicker than in normal weight people resulting in lower cognitive abilities and poorer memory. Seriously. Who wants to be old, fat, and stupid?
This chapter is yet unedited. Criticism, praise and other comment is encouraged, after all everyone needs an editor. Just click the “Add Comments” link at the top right. Thanks!