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Risks and Complications of Obesity

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 05, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • People with higher weights have shorter lifespans.
  • The risk of getting type 2 diabetes is very high in obese people.
  • Breathing capacity can be affected by having obesity.
  • Even fertility is decreased by obesity.

More

Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you're obese, you're more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:

  • High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
  • Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gynecologic problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Skin conditions, including poor wound healing
  • Quality of life


Obesity Risks

When you're obese, your overall quality of life may be lower, too. You may not be able to do things you'd normally enjoy as easily as you'd like, such as participating in enjoyable activities. You may avoid public places. Obese people may even encounter discrimination.

Other weight-related issues that may affect your quality of life include:

  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Sexual problems
  • Shame and guilt
  • Social isolation
  • Lower work achievement


The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behaviour changes can help you lose weight. Prescription medications or weight-loss surgery also may be options for treating obesity.

Image: Getty

Read more articles on Understand Obesity.

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