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Obesity and The Digestive Tract

The digestive tract is about 30 feet long.  From the time food enters our mouths and wastes come out, that is a pretty long journey inside a body that is less than 1/5th that size.  Unfortunately, there are many potential disease processes lurking in all regions from the mouth (diseased teeth, mouth cancers) to the esophagus (acid related erosions/esophagitis/cancer) to the stomach (ulcers, cancer) to the small intestines (colitis, cancers) to the large intestines (colitis, diverticular disease, cancers) to the rectum (cancers).  The liver and gallbladder are also components of the GI tract so throw in hepatitis, cancer, gallstones etc.

So, no doubt that there is plenty of opportunity for a serious disease process to have it’s origins in an organ that is part of the digestive tract.  What role does obesity play in the risk of developing any of these diseases?   Here is a partial list of those diseases:

  • Gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Barrett’s esophagus (this increases the risk of esophageal cancer)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Gallstones
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

We usually think of obesity/poor weight control as impacting only the cardiovascular system but there is no doubt that the digestive tract is also negatively affected.

Weight control helps many organs and parts of the human body.  The digestive tract is no exception.

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