Top 8 Health Risks of Obesity

Obesity is not just about weight gain, body mass index (bmi) and body weight. The effects of obesity have higher risks that can affect your quality of life.

Body fat contributes to numerous health conditions, with the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. It can also lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and sleep apnea.

Treating obesity requires lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits and physical activity. Medications and surgery may also be options for those who need additional support in managing their weight.

However, it is essential to note that these treatment methods have risks and side effects. Therefore, working closely with a healthcare provider is crucial for safely navigating the treatment of obesity and its associated conditions.

1) Heart Disease and Obesity

Obesity can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Conversely, losing weight can help improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure, lowering the likelihood of developing heart disease.

  • Coronary Heart Disease: The American Heart Association estimates that approximately 112,000 deaths from coronary heart disease can be attributed to obesity each year.
  • High Blood Pressure: Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This condition can lead to further damage to the heart and arteries and an increased risk of stroke.
  • High cholesterol: Obesity can lead to high levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and low levels of HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol. This imbalance increases the risk for heart disease.

2) Stroke and Obesity

Obesity can increase the risk of stroke by contributing to high blood pressure and narrowing or blocking the arteries. Losing weight can help lower these risks and improve overall cardiovascular health.

3) Diabetes

Being overweight or obese increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition where the body does not properly use insulin. Losing weight through diet and exercise can significantly lower this risk. In some cases, medications and surgery may also be recommended for treating obesity-related diabetes.

4) Cancer

Excess weight has been linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrial, and kidney cancers. When someone is obese they are more likely to have inflammation, more insulin and more hormone, which all can increase risk of cancer.

5) Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver, potentially leading to inflammation and scarring of the organ. This can be managed through weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes.

6) Kidney Disease

Obesity can lead to chronic kidney disease, where the kidneys cannot properly filter waste from the blood. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent and manage this condition.

7) Sleep Apnea and Breathing Problems

Obesity is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Sleep apnea in itself is bad for the heart. Losing weight can improve symptoms and help manage this condition. A caregiver may sometimes recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy.

8) Gallbladder Disease

Obesity can increase the risk for gallstones, hard deposits that form in the gallbladder. Losing weight may prevent the development of gallstones and improve symptoms for those who already have them.



Overall, the treatment of obesity must consider not only weight loss but also the management of associated conditions and potential risks.

It is important to note that each person's journey towards managing their weight will be unique. Working closely with a healthcare provider can ensure safe and effective treatment of obesity-related health conditions.