Risks of Obesity


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Obesity is defined by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a body mass index (BMI) that is higher than 30.0. Morbid obesity is defined as a BMI of 40.0 or higher. Our doctors can help you to determine what your BMI is.

Obesity health risks include:

  • Mental health concerns such as depression, social anxiety, isolation, and a loss of self-confidence
  • Increased risk of medical problems that are caused or worsened by obesity


Coronary Heart Disease

As your body mass index rises to the level of obesity, so does your risk for coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is a chronic condition in which a waxy substance builds up inside of your coronary arteries and blocks them. These arteries are responsible for the delivery of an oxygen-rich supply of blood to your heart. When the plaque builds up, the diameter of your arteries becomes smaller. Less blood can flow through your arteries. This can lead to angina, which is severe pain. It can also lead to a heart attack. People who are obese may also suffer from heart failure. This is a condition that results when your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet your body’s oxygen requirements.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is an excessive amount of force caused by the beating of your heart. As the blood is pushed into your arteries, high pressure can damage them. Chronic high blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.



The plaque that builds up in your arteries can suddenly become loose. The rupturing of the plaque may cause a blood clot to form. If one of the clots travels into the arteries that serve your brain, the flow of blood can be put to a halt. When blood flow to your brain stops, your brain becomes starved of oxygen and cells begin to die. The risk of a stroke increases as your BMI goes up.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that results in too much blood sugar. Your body becomes unable to process the sugar because it cannot make enough insulin, which in turn causes the level of sugar in your blood to build up. The excess sugar can contribute to blindness, kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease.

Abnormal Blood Fats

Obesity also contributes to high levels of blood fats. A buildup of triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein increase your risk of a heart attack.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed if you have three or more of the symptoms, including a large waist line, high triglyceride levels, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high fasting blood sugar. Obesity is a major cause of metabolic syndrome.


Obesity increases your risk of certain cancers, including colon, breast, uterine, and gallbladder cancer. These cancers are fueled by hormones that build up and are released by fat cells. The more excess fat on your body, the greater your risk of developing these cancers.


Osteoarthritis is a common inflammation of your major joints, including your knees, hips, and pelvis. It develops as your cartilage is worn away. Carrying excess weight puts a lot of pressure on your joints and causes the cartilage to wear away faster than on people who have a healthy weight.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apena is a breathing disorder that takes place while you sleep. It causes you to take pauses in your breathing and makes your breaths shallower. This results in a lack of oxygen. Obesity causes a buildup of fat around your neck, which narrows your pharynx and larynx. As a result, the passages to your lungs are smaller and less air gets into your lungs.

Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome

Obesity hypoventilation syndrome is a breathing disorder that causes too much carbon dioxide and too little oxygen in your blood. This can lead to serious problems, such as a loss of oxygen to your kidneys, liver, heart, and brain. It may also cause nerve damage in your feet and lower legs.

Reproductive Problems

Women who are obese may develop menstrual cycle problems. Obesity contributes to polycystic ovarian syndrome, which results in painful periods and irregular ovulation. Obese women may also experience infertility, premature birth, and an increase in the risk of miscarriage.