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Obesity may increase the risk of hearing loss in women, while exercising may lower it, a new study has claimed. A higher body mass index (BMI) and larger waist circumference are each associated with higher risk of hearing loss, while a higher level of physical activity is associated with lower risk of hearing loss in women, scientists have found. 'We often think of hearing loss as an inevitable part of the ageing process, but these findings provide evidence that potentially modifiable risk factors, such as maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active, may help in the prevention of hearing loss or delay its progression,' said Sharon Curhan, lead author of the study paper.
Using data from 68,421 women who were followed from 1989 to 2009, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) analysed information on BMI, waist circumference, physical activity, and self-reported hearing loss. The baseline and updated information was obtained through validated biennial questionnaires. Researchers found that women with a BMI of 30-34 had a relative risk for hearing loss that was 17 per cent higher, and with a BMI of 40 or more had a relative risk that was 25 per cent higher, when compared with those with a BMI of less than 25. For women with waist circumference 80-88 cm, the relative risk for hearing loss was 11 per cent higher and with waist circumference greater than 88 cm the relative risk was 27 per cent higher when compared with women with waist circumference less than 71 cm. Researchers also found that higher level of physical activity was associated with lower risk.
Compared with women who were the least physically active, women who were the most physically active had a 17 per cent lower risk of hearing loss. Walking, which was the most common form of physical activity reported among these women, was associated with lower risk; walking two hours per week or more was associated with a 15 per cent lower risk of hearing loss, compared with walking less than one hour per week. According to the World Health Organisation, 360 million people have disabling hearing loss, a condition that is often considered to be an unavoidable side effect of ageing, researchers said.
The study was published in The American Journal of Medicine.
Threats of obesity
Obesity comes with its bag and baggage of threats. Some of them are listed below:
Years of life lost People who are obese do not live as long as those who are not obese. The earlier a person becomes obese, the more years of his/her life are lost.
Dysmetabolic Syndrome X This syndrome involves abdominal obesity, abnormal blood-fat levels, changes in insulin sensitivity and inflammation of the arteries. It is associated with a markedly increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease a precursor to the onset of diabetes in adults.
Heart disease Severely obese persons are approximately six times more likely to develop heart disease as those who weigh in the normal range for their body type.
High blood pressure Essential hypertension, the progressive elevation of blood pressure, is more common in obese persons leading to development of heart disease, and damage to the blood vessels, causing susceptibility to strokes, kidney damage, and hardening of the arteries. (Read: Want to lower your blood pressure? Be happy!)
High blood cholesterol Cholesterol levels are commonly elevated in the severely obese another factor predisposing to development of heart and blood vessel disease.
Diabetes Mellitus Overweight persons are 40 times more likely to develop Type-2 diabetes! Elevation of the blood sugar, which is the essential feature of diabetes, leads to damage of tissues throughout the body. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, kidney failure and also of over one-half of all amputations. Read more...
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