Health Risks

Health Risks of Obesity The rate of obesity has doubled in America in the past two decades. Obesity places an individual at significant risk for developing multiple different medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obstructive sleep apnea. Adulthood obesity is associated with a decrease in life expectancy of about seven years in both men and women and after smoking, it is the second-leading preventable cause of death. For example, a 20-year old morbidly obese male has a life expectancy 13 years shorter than a 20-year old normal weight male. Excess weight affects every system of the body. Successful weight loss surgery can help alleviate and in some case even cure certain obesity-related health problems. Some common health problems associated with morbid obesity, separated by organ system, include: Pulmonary

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (leads to low oxygen levels in the blood, interrupted sleep)
  • Asthma/reactive airway disease
  • Restrictive lung disease

Cardiac

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure caused by pulmonary hypertension
  • Higher risk of coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)
  • Congestive heart failure

Gastrointestinal/Abdominal

  • Gallbladder disease
  • GERD (recurrent heartburn)
  • Recurrent ventral hernias
  • Fatty liver disease / cirrhosis

Endocrine

  • Pre-diabetes
  • Diabetes
  • Hirsutism (excess body hair)
  • Hyperlipidemia (abnormal levels of lipids or liporoteins in the blood, including cholesterol)
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol in the blood, often leading to cardiovascular disease)
  • High cholesterol (dyslipidemia)

Genito-Urinary/Reproductive

  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Menstrual irregularity or infertility

Musculoskeletal

  • Degeneration of knees and hips
  • Arthritis
  • Disc herniation
  • Chronic non-surgical lower back pain
  • Joint pain or osteoarthritis
  • Serious back problems or degenerative disc disease

Skin

  • Multiple disorders, most related to diabetes and yeast infections between skin folds

Psychological

  • Body image issues
  • Depression

Higher Risk of Cancers of the:

  • Breast
  • Uterus
  • Prostate
  • Kidneys (renal cancer)
  • Colon
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach (gastric cancer—can spread to esophagus and intestines)
  • Gallbladder
  • Endometrium (inner membrane of the uterus)