Health Risks of Obesity

A variety of medical problems are associated with being obese.

A variety of medical problems are associated with being obese. 

Diabetes

Non insulin-dependent diabetes is highly associated with obesity. A weight gain of 11 to 18 pounds increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight. After weight loss, up to 80% of patients find they no longer have symptoms or require diabetes medication. Obese patients who are not diabetic will significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes with weight loss.

Heart Disease

There is an increased risk for heart disease, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, angina or chest pain, sudden death and abnormal heart rhythms.

Hypertension

Hypertension is also a risk factor of obesity. Losing weight is one of the primary recommendations for individuals with high blood pressure.

Infertility & Complications of Pregnancy

Many severely overweight women are infertile because their fatty tissue alters normal estrogen hormone levels. This causes the ovaries not to release eggs. Weight loss can significantly increase one’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Obesity During Pregnancy

Women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely to have gestational diabetes and problems with labor and delivery.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea (gaps in breathing during sleep) is a very common and serious complication of obesity. It can become so serious that heart and lung damage or sudden death can result.

Cancer

Obesity is associated with an increased risk for certain types of cancer such as uterine, colon, and breast.

Arthritis

For every 2-pound increase in weight, the risk of developing arthritis is increased by 9 to 13%.

Other Important Health Risks

Gastroesophageal reflux or severe heartburn, urinary incontinence, venous problems of the legs, lower back pain, and disability from degenerative arthritis and disk disease have also been linked to being severely overweight. Other problems, including joint pain and hypoventilation, or shortness of breath, are significantly improved or reversed by weight loss.

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