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Obesity: Health Problems Linked To Being Overweight


Obesity is when your body has too much fat, and that can cause a lot of damage to your body. People with severe obesity are more likely to have other diseases that may include type 2-diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and many more.

Obesity, as well as these diseases,  may lead people to have a lower quality of health and can lead to disability or early death in some cases.

Maintaining a reasonable weight is not always easy, but is critical in staying healthy. Overweight or obese individuals usually face numerous health issues, which impact the normal day-to-day living, as conducting normal activities becomes more of a challenge and fighting off numerous diseases and disorders becomes common.

Obesity is also a cosmetic problem. Obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • stroke
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout


Diabetes develops when insulin cannot be produced or used efficiently, and obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. People affected by obesity or severe obesity are about 10 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This medical condition can nearly double the risk of death and can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Amputations
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Circulatory and nerve defects
  • Impotence
  • Prolonged healing, etc…

Avoid this disease by increasing physical activity and eating foods that help the body. Engaging in those two activities will help to keep weight down and decreases the risk of gaining it back. Even a small amount of weight loss can significantly lower a person’s risk for diabetes.

Heart Disease

Heart disease kills about 600,000 people annually in the United States, and the American Heart Association considers obesity a major risk factor for heart disease.

Studies show that the risk of heart disease increases with obesity, and people with severe obesity are at a higher risk for coronary artery disease. This means they have a higher risk of a heart attack, which is one of the leading causes of death and disability for people in the U.S.

Being overweight contributes to chest pain usually caused by decreased oxygen flow to the heart (angina) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs. Severe obesity is associated with irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), which can triple the risk of cardiac arrest. Fortunately, losing a small amount of weight can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease or a stroke.


Several types of cancer, like cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon (for women), and colorectal cancer and prostate cancer (for men) are associated with being overweight.

Obesity is believed to be the main cause of up to 90,000 cancer deaths per year. As your body mass index (BMI) increases, your risk of cancer and death resulting from cancer increases too. These cancers include:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Postmenopausal breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Multiple myelomas
  • Leukemia
  • Prostate cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

For people with severe obesity, the death rate (52 percent higher for men and 62 percent higher for women) increases for all types of cancer.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Obesity is a major risk factor for high blood pressure (also known as “hypertension”, as about 3 out of 4 hypertension cases are related to obesity.

Hypertension increases the risk of other diseases like coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, and kidney disease.

The more fat tissue in one’s body, the more nutrients are needed to sustain these tissues. This forces the heart and blood vessels to work harder at circulating more oxygen throughout the body in hopes of keeping everything running.

This increases pressure on the artery walls and affects the body’s ability to pump blood efficiently, resulting in increased heart rate. All of this extra work will cause one’s blood pressure to reach unhealthy levels.

Reducing sodium and alcohol intake is known for helping blood pressure decrease, and taking more of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are great for keeping blood pressure levels within a healthy range.

Bone and Joint Damage in Accidents

Obesity contributes to a number of bone and joint issues that can increase the risk of injuries and accidents. Bone and joint issues include:

  • Joint diseases (osteoarthritis, gout)
  • Spinal disorders
  • Disc herniation
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri (a condition associated with disorientation, headache, and visual impairment), and
  • Back pain

Osteoarthritis is a common joint condition that most often affects the knee, hip, and lower back joints, and carrying extra pounds places extra pressure on these joints and wear away the cartilage that normally protects them.

Weight loss through exercise and lifestyle change can decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Respiratory Disorders

People with obesity have reduced lung capacity. These people are at higher risk for respiratory disorders. They are more likely to have asthma and other respiratory disorders like sleep apnea.

More than half of those affected by obesity have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a very serious breathing disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when excess fat in the neck, throat, and tongue block air passageways during sleep. Apnea episodes reduce the amount of oxygen intake in a person’s blood and may lead to high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, and heart failure.

Obstructive sleep apnea can cause sudden cardiac death and stroke, and usually interrupt the normal sleep cycle. As a result, you may not reach a restful sleep, and this can lead to fatigue and drowsiness. This drowsiness may raise your risk of motor vehicle accidents or similar accidents.

The risk for sleep apnea increases as body weight increases, however, weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.

Other Conditions Associated with Obesity

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Kidney Disease: Hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and congestive heart failure are major contributors to kidney disease and kidney failure.
  • Suicide: There is a correlation between severe obesity and major depressive disorder. Physical and social stigma or discrimination against those that are obese may contribute to this depression in people with obesity.
  • Septicemia: Septicemia is a serious infection that can quickly lead to septic shock and death, and people affected by obesity, particularly severe obesity, are at higher risk of septicemia.
  • Liver Disease: Obesity is the major cause for fatty liver and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can cause scarring of the liver, resulting in worsened liver function, and this can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
  • maternal gestational diabetes
  • preeclampsia during pregnancy,
  • increased incidence of miscarriages and stillborns,
  • gallbladder disease,
  • pancreatitis,
  • stress urinary incontinence (leakage),
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome,
  • infertility, and
  • Skinfold rashes.

Obesity can have a dramatic impact on your body, and the conditions related to obesity can be detrimental to your health. The good news is that many of these complications can be avoided or cured through a good weight loss plan.




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