Complications of Obesity

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Complications of Obesity

Calorie is a measurement of the energy content of food. The body needs calories as “fuel” to perform all of its functions, such as breathing, blood circulation, and physical activity.

1 gm of carbohydrate provides 4 Calories, 1 gm of protein provides 4 Calories and 1 gm of fat provides 9 Calories.

Eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity to burn those calories results in overweight & obesity.

Adults with a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese and adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight.

Obesity increases the risk of developing several health problems like high blood pressure, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease (heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), gout, gallstones, colon cancer, sleep apnea and non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Obesity & High blood pressure:

Multiple factors are responsible for increase in blood pressure in obesity. – Weight gain is associated with decrease in elasticity of blood vessels & increase heart rate. – Excess calories are deposited in body as fat in fatty tissue. This fatty tissue increases demand for oxygen & nutrients, which in turn increases amount of blood circulating in the body. More blood traveling through arteries adds pressure on walls of arteries leading to increase in blood pressure. – Obesity increases level of insulin in body. Insulin causes sodium & water retention in body, which results in increase in blood volume & extra pressure on arteries.All of these factors can increase blood pressure.

Obesity & Diabetes: – Increased blood sugar level:

Type2 diabetes is a common health problem in diabetes. – Insulin controls blood sugar. – Insulin is required for the entry of sugar (glucose) into body cells from blood. – Excess body fat in obesity makes body resistant to insulin. Because of this insulin resistance, sugar will remain in blood, which will lead to increase in blood sugar or diabetes. – High amount of sugar in blood leads to complications in kidney, eyes, blood vessel, and heart.

Atherosclerosis or fatty deposits in blood vessels:- – Cholesterol is carried in the blood as two compounds: Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and High-density lipoproteins (HDL). HDL is also called the ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL is also called the ‘bad’ cholesterol. – Obesity is associated with low levels of good (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. – When cholesterol levels are high, some of the cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels. Cholesterol deposits reduces the elasticity of blood vessels, narrows blood vessels & decreases blood flow. All these changes lead to atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease & stroke.

There are some books available in e-book format, which gives you a list of heart friendly foods to reduce cholesterol & foods with negative calories. You can get more information about these books at

Coronary artery disease – angina & heart attack:

- Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits in arteries) in coronary arteries (arteries that supply heart) reduces blood supply to heart. Decreased blood flow to heart can cause angina (chest pain) and complete blockage of blood flow to heart can cause heart attack.

Stroke or paralysis:

- Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits in arteries) in arteries of brain can reduce blood supply to that part of brain. This decrease in blood flow can result in stroke or paralysis.


Obesity & overweight increases the load on the joints such as the knee, hip & lower back. This extra pressure on these joints speeds up the breakdown of cartilage, resulting in joint pain & stiffness. (Cartilage is a flexible tissue that covers bone ends in a joint to cushion the bone and allow the joint to move easily without pain).


- Gout is type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. – Obesity is associated with increased production of uric acid, which can form solid crystal-like masses. Uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints & provokes an inflammatory reaction in joints leading to arthritis.

Sleep apnea:

- Overweight & excess fat around neck causes narrowing of airways & leads to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which person stop breathing for short periods during sleep & snore heavily. It results in frequent awakening at night and subsequent drowsiness & tiredness during the day.

Fatty liver disease (Non alcoholic fatty liver) :

- Obesity increases the risk of developing fatty liver disease due to accumulation of fat in liver. These fatty deposits in liver can lead to inflammation & scarring of the liver called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Serious complication of this scarring is cirrhosis of liver.

Gallbladder disease and gallstones:

- The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ situated beneath the liver on the right side of the abdomen. In obesity, excessive cholesterol gets deposited in gall bladder, which can lead to formation of gallstones. Rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight can also increases the chances of developing gallstones.

So, obesity is not just a cosmetic problem, but lot of health problems & complications are associated with it.

Author is a freelance writer.

For more information on weight loss & books on nutrition, please visit,
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