Obesity itself is an epidemic in the United States, and it leads to an increased risk of other health problems. These associated problems are called co-morbid conditions. People who are obese have a much higher risk of developing these health problems than people who maintain a healthy weight. This risk can be lowered with weight loss.
- Typically, patients with a high BMI are considered for weight loss surgery
- Patients with a lower BMI may be considered if other health risks are involved
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Obesity puts a lot of stress on the body’s joints, especially the knees and hips. Trying to support the extra weight can wear down the body’s cartilage, causing bone to come into contact with bone. This leads to painful inflammation and difficulty with movement. Bone spurs can also develop in the joints due to the added stress.
The physical health effects of obesity often lead to depression. People who are depressed feel sad, isolated, and angry or frustrated. This interferes with every aspect of life, making it even more difficult to lose weight. Depression can last for months or years.
Cancer is the result of the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. These cells have mutated and interfere with the body’s normal processes. In men and women, obesity is associated with higher rates of colon, kidney, and pancreas cancer. In men, stomach and prostate cancer are tied to obesity. Cancers of the cervix, uterus, and breast are tied to obesity in women.
Diabetes is a condition in which there is insufficient insulin, or a resistance to it. This results in too much sugar in the blood. Untreated diabetes may lead to poor healing, foot infections, neuropathy, and blindness. Almost 70% of the risk of diabetes is caused by being overweight.
Being overweight is a major factor in the development of heart disease. There are many types of heart disease, including narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This process can lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
Stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel or a blocked artery in the brain. The brain becomes starved of oxygen, and cells begin to die off. Serious disability and death can result from stroke. People who are obese have a much greater risk of stroke.
Other Health Risks
Being overweight also puts individuals at risk of other serious health disorders. These additional risks include sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heartburn. Those who are obese also have a higher risk of gallbladder disease, bone fractures, and joint disorders.