Common health complications caused by obesity


Over 160 million Americans are either overweight or obese, which has now become a widespread health problem that affects both adults and children.

Here we’ll take a closer look at some of the health complications and medical conditions caused by obesity, while exploring some treatment options.



This may be one of the lesser known side effects of obesity, but when examined, the reasons are understandable. Often times, obese individuals have extremely low self-esteem and a poor self-image. Social isolation is also common among those suffering from obesity. When a person doesn’t feel good about themselves, they often withdraw from others and avoid social situations.

What’s interesting to note is that there may actually be a connection between obesity and depression. It’s already proven that obesity can cause depression with obese individuals being 25% of them are more likely to develop depression or an associated mood disorder than non-obese individuals. But can depression cause obesity?

Some studies have shown that young adults suffering from depression are more likely to become obese within 12 months time. Depressed individuals often make poor food choices and turn to food as a comfort for their emotional pain. Obese individuals often lack the motivation or drive to become active. Overeating combined with lack of movement leads to weight gain.



There are two common types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Both are related to the body’s ability to produce insulin, but differ slightly. Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, whereas those with type 2 diabetes are simply unable to properly react to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is much more common and mostly seen in adults, whereas type 1 is primarily seen in children and adolescents. So what does this have to do with obesity?

Nearly 90% of those suffering from type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight. The reason is that those individuals carrying excess weight are placing additional strain on their body. This affects the body’s ability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes.

Heart Disease


Many factors lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the above mentioned, diabetes. Those individuals carrying excess weight in their midsection and abdomen are more susceptible to heart disease and related conditions.

Those suffering from heart disease are at a greater risk for any of the following medical complications:

  • Stroke
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Arrhythmia


body joint

Excess weight like that caused by obesity puts a lot of strain on a person’s body, including their joints. Osteoarthritis is the wearing out of the smooth cartilage in your joints. This can be caused by an injury as well, but often osteoarthritis in obese individuals is related to the weight and the pressure it places on the joints and cartilage.

It’s sometimes difficult for those suffering from osteoarthritis to rectify the condition because it is a vicious cycle. Being obese can cause osteoarthritis and trying to lose the weight can be difficult when you suffer from osteoarthritis. The knees are often the first place to suffer when talking about osteoarthritis. Did you know that 10 pounds of extra weight is equivalent to 30 to 60 pounds of force on your knees?

Kidney and Liver Disease


Both kidney and liver disease can be linked to patients suffering from obesity. Kidney disease is often caused by the onset of high blood pressure and diabetes, which we’ve already established as two medical conditions associated with obesity. The reason for kidney and liver disease in obese individuals does differ, though.

Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and excess fluids in the body. When a person has high blood pressure or diabetes, the kidneys cannot function properly. Prolonged kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.

The liver also functions as a filter for your body. Liver disease occurs when the liver is unable to perform this job efficiently. This is caused by a long list of factors including alcohol abuse, viruses, and obesity. Symptoms include:

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Swelling of lower extremities (legs/ankles)
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea/vomiting

Prolonged liver disease can lead to scarring, also known as cirrhosis. The most common type of liver disease associated with obesity is NAFLD, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This form of liver disease is the result of an accumulation of fat in the liver and insulin resistance, which we know is linked to type 2 diabetes – another common condition found in obese individuals.

Battling Obesity


As you can see, many of the medical conditions associated with obesity are linked together or seemingly build on one another. Obesity can cause diabetes and high blood pressure, which can then lead to heart, kidney, or liver disease. Individuals suffering from obesity often feel unmotivated or too depressed to make a change for the better. It creates an unhealthy and vicious cycle. But there are ways to combat this.

There are medications, surgery, and other therapy options available. For those unopposed to taking medication, there are some popular ones available that help curb appetite. These include:

  • Beta-methyl-phenylethylamine (Fastin)
  • Phentermine
  • Orlistat (Xenical)

Some individuals prefer surgery, which may deliver quicker results. The most popular weight loss surgeries include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or an adjustable gastric band. All individuals must qualify for these surgeries and attend a facility that has reinforced hospital equipment to perform the operation.

And of course, another option for combating obesity is a diet and exercise plan. This may seem like a daunting option for some, especially those who suffer from osteoarthritis or find moving around both difficult and painful due to their weight. But there are ways to make small changes in your routine that will build on one another. These include:

  • Lower calorie diets
  • Setting realistic weight loss goals
  • Creating a network of support
  • Adding small doses of physical activity to each day

Though implementing these changes may be difficult at first, obese individuals will slowly see improvements in their overall well-being, self-image, and physical abilities. This will help develop feelings of accomplishment and motivation to succeed.

Be Aware and Be Sensitive


Obesity is a widespread problem that needs our attention and sympathy. Not everyone is in complete control of their condition. Obesity can be linked to genetic factors, making it extremely difficult for those people to shed excess weight.

Understanding the health risks associated with obesity is the first step to seeking a solution to the problem. It may not be easy to get started but with the right support system, knowledgeable doctors, and a will to succeed, you can beat the obesity epidemic for sure!

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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