Categories
Disease & Condition

Obesity

Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Symptoms

Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Your body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) squared.

BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25.0-29.9 Overweight
30.0-34.9 Obese (Class I)
35.0-39.9 Obese (Class II)
40.0 and higher Extreme obesity (Class III)

When to see a doctor

If you think you may be obese, and especially if you’re concerned about weight-related health problems, see your doctor or health care provider. You and your provider can evaluate your health risks and discuss your weight-loss options.

Causes

In general, the principal causes of obesity are:

  • Inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet and eating habits

Risk factors

Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:

  • Genetics
  • Family lifestyle
  • Inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Medical problems
  • Certain medications
  • Social and economic issues
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Quitting smoking
  • Lack of sleep

Complications

If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:

  • High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
  • Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gynecological problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and can cause inflammation or scarring
  • Osteoarthritis

Tests and diagnosis

These exams and tests generally include:

  • Taking your health history
  • A general physical exam
  • Calculating your BMI
  • Measuring your waist circumference
  • Checking for other health problems
  • Blood tests

Treatment

The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. You may need to work with a team of health professionals — including a dietitian, behavior counselor or an obesity specialist — to help you understand and make changes in your eating and activity habits.

Other treatment tools include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise and activity
  • Behavior change
  • Prescription weight-loss medications
  • Weight-loss surgery

Prevention

  • Exercise regularly
  • Follow a healthy eating plan
  • Know and avoid the food traps that cause you to eat
  • Monitor your weight regularly
  • Be consistent

 

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