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Obesity Health Risks



Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid obesity increases CVD risk due to its effect on blood lipid levels.
  • Weight loss improves blood lipid levels by lowering triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
  • Weight loss of 5% to 10% can reduce total blood cholesterol.
  • The effects of morbid obesity on cardiovascular health can begin in childhood, which increases the risk of developing CVD as an adult.
  • Morbid obesity increases the risk of illness and death associated with coronary heart disease.
  • Morbid obesity is a major risk factor for heart attack, and is now recognized as such by the American Heart Association.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity has been established as a risk factor for CTS.
  • The odds of an obese patient having CTS were found in one study to be almost four times greater than that of a non-obese patient.
  • Morbid Obesity was found in one study to be a stronger risk factor for CTS than workplace activity that requires repetitive and forceful hand use.
  • Seventy percent of persons in a recent CTS study were overweight or obese.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) from Morbid Obesity

  • Patients with CVI, an inadequate blood flow through the veins, tend to be older, male, and have obesity.

Daytime Sleepiness from Morbid Obesity

  • People with morbid obesity frequently complain of daytime sleepiness and fatigue, two probable causes of mass transportation accidents.
  • Severe obesity has been associated with increased daytime sleepiness even in the absence of sleep apnea or other breathing disorders.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity increases the risk of DVT, a condition that disrupts the normal process of blood clotting.
  • Patients with obesity have an increased risk of DVT after surgery.

Diabetes (Type 2) from Morbid Obesity

  • As many as 90% of individuals with type 2 diabetes are reported to be overweight or obese.
  • Morbid Obesity has been found to be the largest environmental influence on the prevalence of diabetes in a population.
  • Morbid Obesity complicates the management of type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which makes drug treatment for type 2 diabetes less effective.
  • A weight loss of as little as 5% can reduce high blood sugar.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) from Morbid Obesity

Morbid Obesity may be a direct or indirect factor in the initiation or progression of renal disease, as suggested in preliminary data.

Gallbladder Disease from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity is an established predictor of gallbladder disease.
  • Morbid Obesity and rapid weight loss in obese persons are known risk factors for gallstones.
  • Gallstones are common among overweight and obese persons. Gallstones appear in persons with obesity at a rate of 30% versus 10% in non-obese.

Gout from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity contributes to the cause of gout -- the deposit of uric acid crystals in joints and tissue.
  • Morbid Obesity is associated with increased production of uric acid and decreased elimination from the body.

Heat Disorders from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity has been found to be a risk factor for heat injury and heat disorders.
  • Poor heat tolerance is often associated with obesity.

Hypertension from Morbid Obesity

  • Over 75% of hypertension cases are reported to be directly attributed to obesity.
  • Weight or BMI in association with age is the strongest indicator of blood pressure in humans.
  • The association between obesity and high blood pressure has been observed in virtually all societies, ages, ethnic groups, and in both genders.
  • The risk of developing hypertension is five to six times greater in obese adult Americans, age 20 to 45, compared to non-obese individuals of the same age.

Impaired Immune Response from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity has been found to decrease the body’s resistance to harmful organisms.
  • A decrease in the activity of scavenger cells, that destroy bacteria and foreign organisms in the body, has been observed in patients with obesity.

Impaired Respiratory Function from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity is associated with impairment in respiratory function.
  • Obesity has been found to increase respiratory resistance, which in turn may cause breathlessness.
  • Decreases in lung volume with increasing obesity have been reported.

Infections Following Wounds from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity is associated with the increased incidence of wound infection.
  • Burn patients with obesity are reported to develop pneumonia and wound infection with twice the frequency of non-obese.

Infertility from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity increases the risk for several reproductive disorders, negatively affecting normal menstrual function and fertility.
  • Weight loss of about 10% of initial weight is effective in improving menstrual regularity, ovulation, hormonal profiles and pregnancy rates.

Liver Disease from Morbid Obesity

  • Excess weight is reported to be an independent risk factor for the development of alcohol related liver diseases including cirrhosis and acute hepatitis.
  • Obesity is the most common factor of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a major cause of progressive liver disease.

Low Back Pain from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity may play a part in aggravating a simple low back problem, and contribute to a long-lasting or recurring condition.
  • Women who are overweight or have a large waist size are reported to be particularly at risk for low back pain.

Obstetric and Gynecologic Complications from Morbid Obesity

  • Women with severe obesity have a menstrual disturbance rate three times higher than that of women with normal weight.
  • High pre-pregnancy weight is associated with an increased risk during pregnancy of hypertension, gestational diabetes, urinary infection, Cesarean section and toxemia.
  • Morbid Obesity is reportedly associated with the increased incidence of overdue births, induced labor and longer labors.
  • Women with maternal obesity have more Cesarean deliveries and higher incidence of blood loss during delivery as well as infection and wound complication after surgery.
  • Complications after childbirth associated with obesity include an increased risk of endometrial infection and inflammation, urinary tract infection and urinary incontinence.

Pain from Morbid Obesity

  • Bodily pain is a prevalent problem among persons with obesity.
  • Greater disability, due to bodily pain, has been reported by persons with obesity compared to persons with other chronic medical conditions.
  • Morbid Obesity is known to be associated with musculoskeletal or joint-related pain.
  • Foot pain located at the heel, known as Sever’s disease, is commonly associated with obesity.

Pancreatitis from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity is a predictive factor of outcome in acute pancreatitis. Obese patients with acute pancreatitis are reported to develop significantly more complications, including respiratory failure, than non-obese.
  • Patients with severe pancreatitis have been found to have a higher body-fat percentage and larger waist size than patients with mild pancreatitis.

Sleep Apnea from Morbid Obesity

  • Obesity, particularly upper body obesity, is the most significant risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.
  • There is a 12 to 30-fold higher incidence of obstructive sleep apnea among morbidly obese patients compared to the general population.
  • Among patients with obstructive sleep apnea, at least 60% to 70% are obese.

Stroke from Morbid Obesity

  • Elevated BMI is reported to increase the risk of ischemic stroke independent of other risk factors including age and systolic blood pressure.
  • Abdominal obesity appears to predict the risk of stroke in men.
  • Obesity and weight gain are risk factors for ischemic and total stroke in women.

Urinary Stress Incontinence from Morbid Obesity

  • Morbid Obesity is a well-documented risk factor for urinary stress incontinence, involuntary urine loss, as well as urge incontinence and urgency among women.
  • Morbid Obesity is reported to be a strong risk factor for several urinary symptoms after pregnancy and delivery, continuing as much as 6 to 18 months after childbirth.

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