Health issues caused by Obesity

Obesity is a complex health issue that can lead to several serious, potentially life-threatening conditions. Below are some of the significant health problems that can result from obesity.
a man holding his stomach with his hands

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Heart disease and stroke

Excess weight puts a higher demand on the heart, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the most prevalent problems related to obesity is atherosclerosis, a condition where fat deposits cause your arteries to narrow. This narrowing can lead to a decreased blood supply to your heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks, and even stroke.

Type 2 diabetes

is one of the most severe health complications associated with obesity. This disease develops when your body’s blood sugar level is excessively high due to an inability to produce or efficiently use insulin. Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is associated with insulin resistance, leading to an elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Certain types of cancer

Obesity can enhance the risk of specific types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and kidney cancer. This is because fat cells generate hormones that may stimulate cell growth, leading to the formation of tumors.


Extra weight can exert more pressure on your joints and cartilage, causing them to wear away. This wear and tear can lead to osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis that affects millions of people.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Obesity, especially having excess fat around your neck, can increase the risk of sleep apnea as it can obstruct your airway during sleep.


Gallstones are hard particles that develop in your gallbladder. Obesity can lead to an overproduction of cholesterol, which in turn can lead to the formation of gallstones.

Mental health issues

Obesity can also lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. The societal pressure and stigma attached to obesity can heavily impact one’s mental health, leading to feelings of rejection, shame, and low self-esteem.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Obesity can cause high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure is often caused by an increase in the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.

Fatty Liver Disease

This is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the liver. This can lead to inflammation or scarring, and eventually liver failure if not addressed. Obesity raises the risk of developing this disease.

Kidney Disease

Obesity increases the chance of developing kidney disease. The kidneys filter waste from your blood, but obesity can make this filtering process harder. Over time, this can lead to kidney damage and eventually kidney failure.

Pregnancy issues

Obesity increases the risk of problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and complications during labor and delivery. It can also increase the risk of birth defects and necessitate a cesarean delivery.

Gynecological problems

Obesity can cause irregular periods and infertility in women. There are also indications that it can exacerbate the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects women’s hormones and can lead to metabolic issues.

Respiratory problems Obesity can cause shortness of breath and other respiratory problems. The excess weight on the chest wall squeezes the lungs and can cause difficulty in breathing.

Gout Gout

is a disease that affects the joints. It occurs when uric acid levels in the blood are too high and form crystals in the joints, causing inflammation and severe pain. Obesity increases the risk of developing gout by increasing the level of uric acid in the blood.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Pancreatitis Obesity can increase the risk of inflammation of the pancreas, which can cause severe abdominal pain.


The strain of carrying excess weight can lead to hernias, a condition where part of an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place.

Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues

Obesity can lead to erectile dysfunction in men due to decreased blood flow, hormonal changes, and psychological effects. In women, obesity can lead to sexual health issues due to hormonal changes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Skin conditions

Obesity can lead to skin conditions due to insulin resistance, such as acanthosis nigricans, wherein certain areas of the body become dark and velvety. Other skin problems due to obesity include stretch marks, skin tags, and increased sweating and fungal infections.

Quality of life

Obesity can affect the overall quality of life. Limited mobility, social isolation, and lower work achievement are some of the ways obesity can affect a person’s quality of life.

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