What Health Issues Are Associated with Obesity?

Curly haired overweight young woman in blue top and shorts in stylish bedroom. (Model)

The global obesity rate has nearly tripled since 1975. According to the World Health Organization, over 650 million adults are obese, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue but also a serious health concern that can lead to a wide range of health problems.

The World Obesity Atlas 2023 says that by 2035, about 51% of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, could be overweight or have obesity. That would be a sharp rise from 2020, when about 38% of the world’s population, or 2.6 billion people, was classified as overweight or having obesity.

In this blog post, we will discuss the health risks associated with obesity and why it is important to maintain a healthy weight to prevent these health problems. We’ll also answer some common questions we hear at SmartShape™ Weight Loss Centre, including whether obesity can cause infertility. We’ll also look at the personal financial cost of obesity and why bariatric surgery is often a cost-effective choice for people with obesity.

How Is Obesity Defined?

Someone with a body mass index (BM) of 30 or higher is generally considered obese, although not everyone with a BMI above 30 experiences health-related issues associated with obesity. Bariatric surgery is most effective and safe for individuals who have a BMI over 35 or a BMI greater than 30 with weight-related health problems.

What Is Obesity?

Summarizing obesity can be difficult because it’s a complex disease with multiple causes that result in a person accumulating excess body fat. Having too much fat changes the way the body functions and can lead to serious, chronic health issues that impact your quality of life and can even result in premature death.

Obesity-Related Health Conditions

The risk of developing certain adverse health conditions increases for obese people. That doesn’t mean they’re inevitable or that you can’t do anything about them, but it’s important to understand the risks.

Metabolic syndrome describes the combination of conditions caused by metabolic changes and chronic inflammation associated with obesity. These conditions include:

Type 2 diabetes: Obesity can affect the way your body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels. This raises the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Cardiovascular diseases: The risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation go hand-in-hand with increases in your BMI. These conditions can lead to coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.

Fatty liver disease: The liver is responsible for filtering blood. When the liver begins storing excess fat, it can result in long-term liver damage (cirrhosis).

Kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease often develops when someone has high blood pressure, diabetes, or liver disease.

Gallstones: Hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in your gallbladder—gallstones—can result when cholesterol accumulates in the gallbladder.

Severe COVID-19 symptoms: The COVID-19 virus can lead to potentially severe symptoms in people with obesity. This may require hospitalization or even mechanical assistance to breathe.

Some of the direct effects of being obese are the result of excess fat impacting your respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. These include:

  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back pain
  • Gout

Indirect effects of obesity include:

  • Memory and cognition, including a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia
  • Female infertility and pregnancy complications
  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Certain cancers, including esophageal, pancreatic, colorectal, breast, uterine, and ovarian

The Cost of Obesity

Besides the risk of developing potentially life-threatening illnesses, obesity involves significant financial costs for individuals. These expenses should be considered when thinking about the cost of undergoing bariatric surgery, such as a gastric sleeve or mini gastric bypass procedure. You can create an estimate of these weight-related costs by calculating how much you spend on the following items:

  • Commercial weight loss program fees
  • Grocery and dining costs
  • Specialized clothing stores
  • Prescription drugs
  • Time lost from work due to weight-related health issues

Remember, these are ongoing expenses that will continue adding up over the months and years. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to lose weight through dietary changes, increased activity, behavioral therapy, or medications, bariatric surgery offers a long-term solution that represents an investment in yourself.

The first step is talking about your surgical options with a physician at SmartShape Weight Loss Centre, where you can be scheduled for surgery within 4 to 6 weeks from the time of your consultation. You can request a free consultation using the online form to discuss your health history and weight loss program goals. Or call us at (888) 278-7952 to schedule an appointment.