If you think that only overweight or obese people face increased health risks then guess again. Being underweight is also a risk factor. But, who is considered underweight? Anyone who has a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5.While we would expect that the ones who have a low fat percentage would be protected from all the diseases that are typically associated with being overweight, this is not the case. Thus, very thin people have high blood cholesterol levels and their bodies have difficulty in processing glucose - two problems that increase the chances of suffering from heart disease and diabetes, respectively by 20%. Having a very low body weight, also poses an increased risk for various other health problems - from miscarriages, pulmonary disease and infertility to severe depression. Underweight people often do not realize that many of their health problems are due to their low body weight.
Let's see some of the potential dangers of being underweight:
Miscarriage and nausea: women who have a very low BMI before pregnancy are 72% more likely than the ones with normal weight, to lose their baby during the first trimester of pregnancy. Another study in Sweden showed that very thin pregnant women are 43% more likely to suffer from severe morning sickness and vomiting.
Pulmonary disease: underweight, elderly women are particularly susceptible to a range of chronic respiratory problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.
Fractures: women who were too thin throughout their lives, face an increased risk of hip fractures after menopause.
Male infertility: low body weight can affect men's fertility by decreasing the number of healthy sperm.
Heart disease due to arthritis: underweight people who suffer with arthritis are three times more likely to die from heart disease in middle age.
Depression: underweight people are at an increased risk of severe depression and suicidal ideation.
Traffic accidents: very thin people are more likely to die in an automobile accident, because body fat reduces the effects of impact.