Health and Wellness

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

Heartfelt concern prompts us to broach a matter of utmost urgency – the potentially fatal health implications attached to obesity. Making sense of this all-too-common health issue is, we believe, crucial to the welfare and longevity of individuals suffering from or at risk of obesity. The specific, often severe, sicknesses attributed to obesity need to be understood and indeed prevented wherever possible. With deeply empathetic hearts, we embark upon this journey in an attempt to shed light on this delicate health matter, in hopes that it may make a meaningful difference.

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

Understanding Obesity

Definition of Obesity

Obesity, as we understand it, is a complex and multifactorial disease characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat. It’s not just a cosmetic concern, but it’s a serious medical condition that can lead to various health risks and lower quality of life. While unhealthy dietary habits and insufficient physical activity are often cited as contributors, variables such as genetics, environment, metabolism, and social factors also play a critical role in the development of obesity.

How is Obesity Measured?

Obesity is typically measured using the Body Mass Index or BMI, which divides an individual’s weight by the square of their height. According to the World Health Organization’s criteria, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or above designates obesity. Waist circumference, skinfold thickness, and body fat percentage are other parameters we use to measure obesity.

Prevalence of Obesity Globally and in Different Demographics

Obesity is a significant global health concern. As per the World Health Organization, more than 650 million adults were obese in 2016, and the numbers have nearly tripled since 1975. It’s not confined to any particular age, gender, or race, however, prevalence rates among different demographics can vary. Adults over the age of 60, women of childbearing age, individuals with lower income and education levels, and certain ethnic groups have shown higher rates of obesity.

Connection between Obesity and Health Complications

How Obesity Impacts General Health

As our understanding of obesity broadens, we know it’s not just about numbers on a scale. Obesity, as we have learned, adversely impacts nearly every system in the body, resulting in a wide range of health problems. From reducing life expectancy and hampering quality of life to increasing the risk of many physical and mental conditions, obesity leaves a broad, detrimental imprint on one’s health.

Increased Health Risks Associated with Obesity

The health risks associated with obesity are extensive. It’s a significant risk factor for many chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Moreover, it can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory problems, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Co-existing medical conditions further complicate the picture, creating a cycle of health issues that feeds off one another.

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

Cardiovascular Diseases linked to Obesity

Coronary Heart Disease

We must highlight that people who are obese have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. The excess body fat, specifically visceral fat, secretes inflammatory substances which can cause the coronary arteries to narrow, limiting the blood supply to the heart and leading to chest pain or a heart attack.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Obesity is also linked to high blood pressure, a prime risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Excessive body fat increases the workload on the heart, making it pump harder to distribute blood throughout the body. This increased forceful blood flow eventually damages the arteries, leading to hypertension.


The risk of stroke is significantly higher in those with obesity. The increased pressure on the artery walls due to obesity can trigger blood clots which, when travelling to the brain, can cause a stroke.

Congestive Heart Failure

Obesity also increases the risk of congestive heart failure, a chronic condition where the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. the heart struggles to meet body’s oxygen and nutrient demands which can cause fluid build-up leading to breathlessness, fatigue and swollen legs.

Respiratory Disorders Related to Obesity

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obesity significantly contributes to sleep-related breathing disorders, particular obstructive sleep apnea. The excessive fat around the neck region can narrow the airway and interrupt normal breathing during sleep. This leads to multiple short periods of breathing cessation throughout the night, causing daytime fatigue, impaired concentration, and increased cardiovascular risks.

Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome

Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome is another breathing disorder linked to obesity. In this condition, inadequate breathing leads to higher carbon dioxide and lower oxygen levels in the blood. It can lead to serious health problems including pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure, and even death if left untreated.


Obesity also increases the risk of asthma, a chronic disease where the airways narrow and swell, producing extra mucus, causing difficulty in breathing. The increased inflammation and immunological changes due to obesity can trigger asthma attacks.

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance, a precursor to type-2 diabetes, is commonly found in those with obesity. The excessive fat cells interfere with the body’s ability to use insulin effectively, causing the pancreas to produce more insulin, leading to insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common complications of obesity. High body fat can make cells more resistant to insulin, leading to increased blood sugar levels. With time, this excess blood sugar can cause damage to various organs, leading to heart diseases, kidney diseases, and nerve damage.

High Cholesterol

Obesity can also lead to increased levels of cholesterol, specifically LDL (bad cholesterol), which can stick to the artery walls, causing them to narrow and restrict blood flow, thereby raising the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Obesity and Gastrointestinal Disorders

Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease, where excess fat builds up in the liver, is another obesity-associated condition. If left unchecked, it can cause liver inflammation, resulting in liver damage, cirrhosis, or liver failure.

Gallbladder Disease

Obesity increases the risk of gallbladder diseases, particularly gallstones. The high cholesterol levels linked to obesity can lead to the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD, a chronic digestive disorder wherein stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and possibly injuring the esophagus, is more common in individuals with obesity. The excess abdominal fat can put pressure on the stomach, causing the reflux of acid.

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

The Relationship Between Obesity and Cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women, has been linked to obesity. The elevated levels of estrogen produced by fat cells can cause breast cell overgrowth, which may lead to breast cancer.

Colon Cancer

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. The inflammation and insulin resistance generated by obesity can drive abnormal cell growth in the colon, leading to cancer.

Endometrial Cancer

Obesity increases the risk of endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus. The high levels of estrogen produced by fat cells are thought to stimulate the growth of endometrial cells, leading to cancerous growth.

Ovarian Cancer

Researchers have discovered associations between obesity and ovarian cancer. The altered hormone levels can stimulate the growth of ovarian cells, leading to cancer.

Mental Illness and Obesity


Depression is a common mental health condition associated with obesity. The stigma attached to obesity and the resultant lowered self-esteem can predispose individuals to develop depression. On the flip side, depression can also lead to obesity due to changes in appetite and decreased physical activity.

Anxiety Disorders

Obesity has been linked to the development of anxiety disorders. The constant worry about potential health problems or societal judgment can create an anxiety pattern which may develop into a disorder over time.

Eating Disorders

The relationship between obesity and eating disorders is complex. Many individuals resort to overeating to cope with emotional distress which can lead to obesity. However, the stress and fear of obesity can also trigger unhealthy eating habits leading to disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

What Types Of Sickeness Can Obesity Cause

Obesity’s Impact on Bone and Joint Health


Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. The excess body weight places added stress on weight-bearing joints like knees and hips, accelerating wear and tear.


While the association isn’t as direct, obesity can also affect bone health, contributing to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by frail and porous bones. The inflammatory substances produced by visceral fat can alter bone cell function, leading to weakened bones.


Gout, a form of arthritis characterized by severe joint pain and swelling, is more common in individuals with obesity. The excess body weight can increase the body’s production of uric acid, which can lead to gout.

Dealing With Obesity

Weight Management Strategies

Tackling obesity involves long-term weight management strategies. these strategies need to be holistic, involving dietary changes, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and stress management.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications are the cornerstone in the management of obesity. Adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and low in trans and saturated fats and added sugars can help manage weight. Regular physical activity of moderate to high intensity, for 150-300 minutes a week, is also important. Furthermore, maintaining a regular sleep pattern and managing stress through mindfulness techniques can also contribute to weight control.

Medical Interventions and Surgeries

When lifestyle modifications aren’t enough, medical interventions may be required. Prescription weight loss medications can be considered for those with a BMI of 30 or more, or who have a BMI of 27 or above and a related health condition. Weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass and gastric banding, can be an option for those with severe obesity or in cases where obesity-related health issues are life-threatening.

In conclusion, obesity is a serious global health concern. We all have a responsibility to understand – it’s not just about weight, it’s about health. Let’s stand together to tackle obesity and build a healthier future for us all.

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