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Obesity-Related Health Conditions

Obesity-related health conditions can significantly reduce your life expectancy.
A partial list of some of the most common conditions is below. Your doctor can provide you with more information about these and other conditions.Obesity graphic

Type 2 Diabetes

Obese individuals develop a resistance to insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Over time, the resulting high blood sugar can cause serious damage to
the body and result in permanent damage to nearly every organ system in the body.  It has been shown that just losing weight can have a significant positive effect on Type II diabetes.

High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease

Excess body weight strains the ability of the heart to function properly. The resulting high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can result in strokes and also inflict significant heart and kidney damage.

Osteoarthritis of Weight-bearing Joints

The additional weight placed on joints, particularly knees and hips, results in rapid wear and tear along with pain caused by inflammation. Similarly, bones and muscles of the back are constantly strained, resulting in disk problems, pain and decreased mobility.

Sleep Apnea/Respiratory Problems

Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can cause intermittent obstruction of the air passage. Because the obstruction is increased when sleeping on your back, you may find yourself waking frequently to reposition yourself. The resulting loss of sleep often results in daytime drowsiness and headaches.

Gastroesophageal Reflux/Heartburn

There is a well-known correlation between obesity and gastroesophageal reflux. The pressure applied to the abdominal wall from obesity places pressure on the stomach and causes the normal acid contents of the stomach to reflux upward into the esophagus, which is normally free of any acid. When acid escapes into the esophagus through a weak or overloaded valve at the top of the stomach, the result is called gastroesophageal reflux. Heartburn and acid indigestion are common symptoms. Approximately 10-15 of patients with even mildly sporadic heartburn develop Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-malignant change in the lining membrane of the esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer. For more information on heartburn, its causes and possible cures, visit www.heartburnhelp.com.

Depression

Obese individuals often become depressed. They face constant challenges to their emotions, including repeated failure with dieting; disapproval from family and friends; and sneers and negative remarks from strangers. They often experience discrimination at work, cannot fit comfortably in theater seats or ride in a bus or plane.

Infertility

Obesity can result in the inability or diminished ability to produce offspring.

Urinary stress incontinence

A large, heavy abdomen and relaxation of the pelvic muscles, especially associated with the effects of childbirth, may weaken the urinary bladder valve, leading to leakage of urine with coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

Menstrual irregularities

Morbidly obese individuals often experience interruption of the menstrual cycle, abnormal menstrual flow and increased pain associated with the menstrual cycle.

*Ogden CL, et.al, Prevalence of Obesity in the United states, 2009-2010, NCHS Data Brief 2012; Jan:1-8