Effects of Obesity

Written by Ali Zarrouk on .

Shorter Life Expectancy:

High BMI is associated with increased rate of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease. The risk doubles at a BMI of 35 and increases even further with higher BMI. BMI greater than 40 reduces the life expectancy by 10 years!

Medical Conditions:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Insulin Resistance
  3. Hypertension
  4. High Cholesterol
  5. Heart Disease ( coronary disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation)
  6. Gallbladder stones and their complications
  7. Gastrointestinal Disorders (e.g. acid reflux and oesophageal cancer)
  8. Respiratory disorders (hypoventilation, sleep apnoea, snoring)
  9. Venous thrombosis, stasis, ulcers, lymphoedema
  10. Infertility and menstrual irregularities
  11. Gout
  12. Osteoarthritis
  13. Increased cancer risk (ovaries, cervix, uterus, breasts, prostate and gallbladder)
  14. Kidney Disease and kidney stones
  15. Urinary stress incontinence
  16. Skin changes (intertrigo and other skin infections)
  17. Higher risk of accidents
  18. Increased complications with any surgery
  19. Stroke, dementia and Pseudotumor cerebri


Social Effects:

Low self-esteem, social isolation and withdrawal

Sexual limitations

Clothing limitations

Limited access to chairs and seats

Difficulties with walking, climbing stairs and public transport

Limitation in performing daily activities and poor sanitation

Psychological Effects:

  1. Depression
  2. Dysfunctional Relationships
  3. Eating disorders

Economic Effects:

  1. Problems with obtaining good employment
  2. Cost of dieting
  3. High rate of school drop out
  4. Cost of treating the various obesity related medical conditions. Current estimates suggest that the true cost of obesity in Australia may be as high as 1.3 billion dollars per year and is rising fast.


The Importance of Losing Weight

Losing weight is the most effective treatment for the medical conditions caused by obesity.




The Metabolic Sydnrome

Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of medical conditions that, when present together,  increase the risks of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It affects about one in five people in developed countries.Metabolic Syndrome

International Diabetes Federation consensus worldwide definition of the metabolic syndrome (2006)

  1. Central obesity (defined as BMI>30 or increased waist circumference)
  2. AND any two of the following:
    1. Raised triglycerides: >1.7 mmol/L, or specific treatment for this lipid abnormality.
    2. Reduced HDL cholesterol: < 1.03 mmol/L in males, < 1.29 mmol/L in females, or specific treatment for this lipid abnormality
    3. Raised blood pressure: systolic BP > 130 or diastolic BP >85 mm Hg, or treatment of previously diagnosed hypertension.
    4. Raised fasting plasma glucose :(FPG)>5.6 mmol/L, or previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Obesity plays a key role in the metaoblic sydnrome. Visceral fat accumulation, above all in the liver, is associated with a cluster of metabolic changes i.e type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipiademia. The main link among obesity, fatty liver and the metabolic syndrome is represented by insulin resistance. A marked reduction in the insulin resistance is found after surgically-induced weight loss.



Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods during the night. A person who has sleep apnea may suffer from daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and even heart failure.

How is sleep apnea linked to overweight?

The risk for sleep apnea is higher for people who are overweight. A person who is overweight may have more fat stored around his or her neck. This may make the airway smaller. A smaller airway can make breathing difficult, loud (snoring), or stop altogether. In addition, fat stored in the neck and throughout the body may produce substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation in the neck is a risk factor for sleep apnea.

What can weight loss do?

Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea. Weight loss may help to decrease neck size and lessen inflammation.



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