Published on December 20, 2017

How Obesity Weighs on Your Body

Obesity is one leading cause of preventable death in America.

As weight accumulates over time and your body mass index rises, your risk also rises for several health conditions. 

People who are obese are much more likely to develop the following:

Sleep Apnea

Blood PressureThis sleep disorder causes you to periodically stop breathing during the night. Your air can be interrupted from just a few seconds to a couple minutes at a time. With hundreds of these pauses, your quality of sleep greatly decreases and you feel more tired when you’re awake. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause stroke, weight gain, diabetes, heart attack, or high blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body struggles to use insulin correctly. Typically, insulin transports sugar from the food you eat to your cells. Then your cells use the sugar for energy. When the insulin stops functioning properly due to type 2 diabetes though, your pancreas starts making extra insulin to meet your body’s needs. However, it can’t maintain the high demand and eventually your blood sugar levels get too high. This causes a lot of damage in your body and can lead to: kidney disease, coronary heart disease, blindness, stroke and death.


There is consistent evidence that having a higher amount of body fat is associated with an increased risk for a number of cancers. Specifically, obesity raises your risk for breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, and gallbladder cancer.


Most people tend to get osteoarthritis as a result of too much wear and tear on their joints, often due to injuries and overuse. But being obese puts additional pressure on your hips and knees. This wears down the joints faster and raises the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Coronary Heart Disease

Excess weight increases your chances for coronary heart disease—when plaque, a waxy substance, builds up inside your arteries. These arteries are vital blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to your heart. If blood flow to your heart is blocked, you can experience chest pain or possibly suffer a heart attack.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which blood flows through your blood vessels with more force than normal. As a result, blood vessels throughout your body are damaged and can lead to other health issues, including: heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease or eye damage.

While signs and symptoms of the health problems listed above are not always immediately apparent, several can lead to serious complications if not caught in time. But the good news is that obesity is preventable and treatable. Talk with your doctor if you’re having difficulty losing weight—he or she can help you get your weight under control.