Obesity-related health conditions that can significantly reduce your life expectancy are called comorbidities. Below is a partial list of some of the more common comorbidities associated with obesity. Your doctor can provide you with a more detailed and complete list.
The additional weight placed on joints, particularly the knees and hips, results in rapid wear and tear, causing pain and inflammation. Similarly, too much weight strains the bones and muscles of the back, resulting in disk problems, pain and decreased mobility.
High Blood Pressure/Heart Disease
Excess body weight can prevent the heart from functioning properly. The result is high blood pressure, which may result in stroke, heart and kidney diseases.
Being overweight can raise your LDL, or bad cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which can damage your blood vessels, heart and other organs. It can also lower your HDL, or good cholesterol levels.
Being overweight can lead to abnormal hormone issues, which can affect reproduction in both women and men. In women, it can cause the body to produce too much insulin, which may cause irregular ovulation. There is also a link between obesity and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is associated with irregular menstrual cycles, decreased or stopped ovulation, obesity and elevated levels of male hormones. In men, a high BMI has been linked to decreased levels of testosterone and abnormal semen.
Obese individuals are more likely to be clinically depressed. Physicians and researchers are trying to determine if the relationship between obesity and depression is related to the emotions and stress that are related to being overweight or whether there is a biochemical connection.
Weight gain increases abdominal pressure, and that pressure pushes stomach contents into the esophagus. The result is called reflux. Heartburn, or acid indigestion, is a common symptom. Approximately 10 - 15 percent of patients with even mild sporadic symptoms of heartburn will develop a condition called Barrett's esophagus, which is a premalignant change in the lining membrane of the esophagus, a cause of esophageal cancer.
Sleep Apnea/Respiratory Problems
Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can cause intermittent obstruction of air passage. Because the obstruction can further narrow the air passage when you sleep on your back, you may find yourself waking frequently to reposition yourself. The resulting loss of sleep often results in daytime drowsiness and headaches.
Type 2 Diabetes
Many obese individuals develop a resistance to insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Over time, the resulting high blood sugar can cause life-threatening complications. The likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes is greatly reduced as your weight decreases.
Urinary Stress Incontinence
The accumulation of extra weight in the midsection puts added pressure on your bladder, increasing your chances of experiencing urinary stress incontinence. The additional pressure makes your bladder more likely to leak, especially when coughing, kneeling, laughing or sneezing.