The Immediate and Long-Term Effects of Obesity

December 7, 2016

For those who are overweight, the term “obese” can be a scary word. Despite that fear, understanding obesity and its medical implications is vital to recovery. Excess weight limits our health, our longevity and our quality of life. For many, coming to clear terms with obesity has proven to be the crucial factor in empowering them to change their life’s path.

Defining Obesity

The medical community looks to an objective mathematical equation to assess health – a patient’s body mass index, or BMI. That figure embodies the relationship between height and weight—and often health:

  • When BMIs become higher than 25, they cross into the overweight zone. This is an area that increases the negative impact of weight on a person’s health.
  • When BMIs reach or breach 30, they enter the obese zone, an area prone to chronic medical conditions and diseases that become difficult to control.

To confirm your BMI, you can check a chart or calculate it by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiplying that figure by 703.

Immediate Effects of Obesity

When a body consumes more calories than it can use, it begins converting those calories into fat. Each fat cell weighs very little – less than 1 microgram. Together, however, masses of them can burden your limbs and surround internal organs, making every action and process more difficult to complete. In the short term, excess weight often results in:

  • Shortness of breath during easy or routine activities
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Prediabetes—blood glucose levels are elevated but not yet to diabetic levels
  • Joint pain and inflammation, especially in the knees
  • Aches, headaches, vague pains and physical discomfort
  • Indigestion and digestive problems
  • Infertility and complications during pregnancy like gestational diabetes and blood clots
  • Restricted mobility
  • Fatigue
  • Psychological distress
  • Physical incompatibility with surroundings

Excess weight affects every aspect of life. Your body is constantly struggling to function even while you try to keep up with family, friends and coworkers. You end up feeling tired and achy because every one of your body’s systems is being overworked.

The Mobility Factor

Perhaps the most devastating effect of obesity is the loss of mobility. If you can’t move, you burn fewer calories. Your metabolism slows, resulting in increased weight gain. Meanwhile each pound you carry exerts force on your bones.

With obesity, excess weight exerts force on more than your knees. Every part of the skeletal system bears more weight than it was intended to handle. Meanwhile, you become increasingly isolated as your mobility restricts the activities you can participate in.

Long-Term Effects of Obesity

Over time, short-term effects become chronic conditions and diseases. Lack of mobility only adds to the severity of problems like:

  • Hypertension, arteriosclerosis and heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Venous stasis disease and venous ulcers
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pulmonary conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Digestive disorders like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gall bladder disorders
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Incontinence
  • Cancer, particularly of the colon, kidneys, gall bladder, breast and uterus
  • Depression
  • Social isolation and discrimination
  • 10 to 15-year decrease in lifespan

When Diet and Exercise Aren’t Enough

Sometimes, diet and exercise just aren’t enough – especially once medical issues decrease your mobility. When BMI is excessive, and your health hangs in the balance, surgical weight loss procedures may be able to help. These are approved medical procedures that have demonstrated repeated success in helping men and women lose weight and resolve serious, chronic health issues.

Acadiana Weight Loss Surgery offers the full range of surgical and nonsurgical weight loss procedures. All procedures target the challenging issues of losing weight and helping you discover a healthy, new lifestyle. If you feel your weight is negatively impacting your health, call us at 337-233-9900, or visit our website to schedule a consultation.