Excess weight

The term ‘excess weight’refers to people who are overweight or obese. Being overweight means that you are carrying a few more pounds that you need to but obesity is worse and can cause long term health problems.

One of these health problems is your throat.

This is may be difficult to believe but being overweight or obese can cause several problems with your throat which include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Acid reflux
  • Ear infections
  • Throat cancer

Breathing problems

If you have excess weight around your face, neck and chest then this can put a strain on your lungs which affects your breathing.

This is especially problematic for people who are obese.

Sleep apnoea

Being overweight can cause difficulty in breathing when you are asleep in a condition known as sleep apnoea.

This condition is caused by a collapsing inwards of the soft tissues and muscles within the throat which then obstruct the airways. This brief interruption causes the person to wake up.

Repeated episodes of this can break the sleep pattern and result in tiredness and fatigue the next day.

Excess body fat around the neck puts pressure on the muscles of the throat which causes them to collapse inwards. This causes a partial or complete blockage of the airway which then leads to sleep apnoea.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux is caused by an over-production of stomach acid within the oesophagus which then flows back this and into the throat. This results in heartburn and throat ulcers.

People who are overweight or obese are especially prone to acid reflux which may be due to a higher level of visceral fat within the abdominal area. This internal fat is located around the internal organs but an excess of it can put pressure on the oesophagus and stomach.

This causes a regurgitation of stomach acid up the oesophagus and into the throat and mouth.

Find out more about acid reflux in our throat related problems section.

Ear infections

There is a possible link between excess weight and ear infections which can also affect the throat. Ear infections are particularly common in children and often spread to the throat causing tonsillitis or swollen or enlarged adenoids.

These are common throat infections, especially tonsillitis which affects adults as well as children. Severe cases may require surgery.

Throat cancer

Another possible link is that between obesity and throat cancer. There is evidence to show that high levels of body fat may cause a growth of cancerous cells within the throat leading to cancer.

So losing weight means that you reduce the risks to your throat as well as to other aspects of your health.

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