Obesity Related Conditions

Obesity

Obesity is defined as an excess of total body fat, which results from an intake of calories that exceeds energy usage.

For roughly every 3000 calories you consume, you gain one pound.

Nearly two thirds of the United States population is overweight. A person’s body mass index (BMI) is the most accurate measurement of body fat.

  • Adults with a BMI between 25-29.9 are considered overweight.
  • Adults with a BMI between 30-39.9 are considered obese.
  • Adults with a BMI of 40 or more (or 100 pounds overweight) are considered morbidly obese.

Obesity and obesity related conditions is the leading cause of many serious health conditions, including death. Weight loss surgery has gained acceptance as the only proven method of treatment for obesity.

What Causes Obesity

Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. Other factors also play a role in obesity. Here are a few common factors:

Genetics

Obesity (and thinness) tends to run in families. In a study of adults who were adopted as children, researchers found that participating adult’s weights were closer to the biological parent’s weights than their adopted parents. The environment had less influence on the development of obesity that the persons genetic make-up.

Physical Activity

Active individuals require more calories than less active ones to maintain their weight. Additionally, physical activity tends to decrease appetite in obese individuals while increasing the body’s ability to preferentially metabolize fat as an energy source. Much of the increase in obesity in the last twenty years is thought to have resulted from the decreased level of daily physical activity.

Unhealthy Diet and Eating Habits

Having a diet that is high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, eating most of your calories at night, drinking high calorie beverages, and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.

Medications

Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don’t compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.

Medical Problems

Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, although not as common as many believe. Some causes may include Prader-Willi Syndrome, Cushing’s Syndrome, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Some medical problems such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors also influence eating habits and obesity. Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. People who have difficulty with weight management may be facing more emotional and psychological issues; about 30% of people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulty with binge eating. During a binge-eating episode, people eat large amounts of food while feeling they can’t control how much they eat.

Obesity Related Conditions

Obesity itself has been recognized by the American Medical Association as a disease and is the leading cause of preventative death in the United States. Major co-morbidities associated with obesity are:

Diabetes

A serious disease in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin.

Hypertension

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the most common cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it courses through the body. Like air in a tire or water in a hose, blood fills arteries to a certain capacity. Just as too much air pressure can damage a tire or too much water pushing through a garden hose can damage the hose, high blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea that is caused by recurring interruption of breathing during sleep due to obstruction usually of the upper airway especially by weak, redundant, or malformed pharyngeal tissues, that occurs chiefly in overweight middle-aged and elderly individuals, and that results in hypoxemia and frequent arousals during the night and in excessive sleepiness during the day—abbreviation OSA; called also obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Asthma

A chronic lung disorder that is marked by recurring episodes of airway obstruction (as from bronchospasm) manifested by labored breathing accompanied especially by wheezing and coughing and by a sense of constriction in the chest, and that is triggered by hyperreactivity to various stimuli (as allergens or rapid change in air temperature).

Osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints

Arthritis typically with onset during middle or old age that is characterized by degenerative and sometimes hypertrophic changes in the bone and cartilage of one or more joints and a progressive wearing down of apposing joint surfaces with consequent distortion of joint position and is marked symptomatically especially by pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Infertility

Incapable of or unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy over a considerable period of time in spite of determined attempts without contraception.

GERD

A highly variable chronic condition that is characterized by periodic episodes of gastroesophageal reflux usually accompanied by heartburn and that may result in histopathologic changes in the esophagus called Barrett’s. Other symptoms that may occur are regurgitation of food and a chronic hoarse voice or cough.

Depression

A mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty with thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Any involuntary leakage of urine. It can be a common and distressing problem, which may have a profound impact on quality of life. Urinary incontinence is one of the most under-reported conditions of obesity reported to medical practitioners.

Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease

One cause of a fatty liver, occurring when fat is deposited (steatosis) in the liver. It is related to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome and may respond to treatments such as weight loss. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most extreme form of Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease, and is regarded as a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver of unknown cause.


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