Obesity is a disease and one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.
Although medical complications linked to obesity may affect moderately obese individuals, the occurrence of these problems rises dramatically as weight increases. Numerous studies also indicate a marked decrease in the life expectancy of morbidly obese patients.
A person is considered morbidly obese if his or her weight is more than 50 pounds in excess of his Ideal Body Weight (IBW) especially if other comorbidities are present (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc). A standardized tool for measuring obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI).
Obesity increases the risk of many medical conditions, including but not limited to:
- Cardiac: high blood pressure, coronary artery disease
- Pulmonary: obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, GERD, induced asthma or aspiration
- Gastrointestinal, abdominal: gallstones, (usually associated with cyclic weight loss/gain), GERD, recurrent ventral hernias, stress urinary incontinence
- Endocrine: diabetes, menstrual irregularity, infertility, hirsutism, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia
- Genitourinary, reproductive: recurrent UTIs, stress urinary incontinence, irregular menstruation, infertility
- Musculoskeletal: degenerative disorders of the knees and hips, inter-vertebral disc herniation, low back pain
- Skin: venous stasis
- Cancer: breast, endometrium, colon, prostate