Common Health Problems Related to Obesity

Some experts estimate that over one-third of adults in the US are obese. If you are obese, it means you weigh at least 20% more than the weight that is ideal for your body build, height, and size. The most common measure for obesity is BMI or Body Mass Index. Those who have a BMI of 30 and above are classified as being obese. Having extra weight, especially around the waist, can lead to many related health problems. Losing some weight may be helpful for preventing, slowing, or reversing many obesity-related health conditions. Here’s a look at some of the most common health problems related to obesity.

Fatty Liver Disease

When fat begins to build up in the liver, it can cause scar tissue. This can cause hinder your liver’s performance and can eventually shut it down completely. Sometimes, there are no symptoms until the damage has already occurred. If you are overweight or obese, you are far more likely to have problems with your liver.


Carrying around extra weight puts more strain on your joints. You may experience stiffness and pain in many of your joints. Body fat can also cause more inflammation. Losing 5% of your body weight can help take some pressure off the hips, knees, and lower back. Exercise is the best thing you can do for arthritis. Discuss the types of exercise and activities that are right for you with your doctor.

Type 2 Diabetes

Medical professionals have been able to link belly fat to insulin resistance. This means that your body makes insulin, but the cells can’t properly use it to remove glucose from the blood. When your blood sugar is higher than normal, it can become diabetes and can lead to other problems with your heart, eyes, nerves, and more. 80% of the people who develop type 2 diabetes are overweight. 

High Blood Pressure

When you are overweight, your heart has to pump harder to get blood to all the cells in your body. This causes more force on artery walls and can be damaging. You may be prescribed blood pressure medications. Also, your primary care physician may make recommendations to help bring your blood pressure down. These include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise 20 to 30 minutes most days
  • Limit your sodium intake to 1500 milligrams or less each day
  • Keep your BMI closer to 25 

Sleep Apnea

When you are obese, some fat can collect in the neck, making it chubbier. This tends to narrow your airway, which can make it difficult for you to breathe at night. Maybe you snore loudly. Or you may stop breathing for a few seconds all through the night. When either of these happens, you will not get the rest your body needs to be healthy. You may be tired and groggy. This can lead to heart, memory, and mood problems.

Some Cancers

Gaining weight as an adult, even if you are not obese, can make you more likely to get some cancers. Esophageal cancer is common in obese individuals. This may be because they are susceptible to heartburn or GERD, which can damage esophageal tissues. Other cancers commonly associated with obesity include kidney, endometrial, and colorectal cancers. This may be due to the hormones made by fat cells, which change how cells grow. It may also be due to habits that often lead to weight gain. Staying active and eating healthy can help you avoid cancer no matter what your weight.

How the Digestive Health Institute Can Help

If you or your loved one is obese and has symptoms of related conditions like cancer, GERD, or liver disease. Please contact us. Let us show you the difference compassionate care can make for you or your loved ones. 


Make an Appointment

This form is currently undergoing maintenance. Please try again later.