Jaipur Hospital

Obesity – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Complications, Treatment

What is Obesity?

A condition known as obesity involves having too much body fat. Obesity is more than simply a visual issue. Various illnesses and diseases are associated with it, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer.

Weight loss struggles can be caused by a variety of factors. Exercise, physical activity, and lifestyle choices usually contribute to obesity along with dietary, physiological, and environmental factors.

Obesity-related health issues can be stopped or even improved with just a small amount of weight loss. You can lose weight by changing your behaviour, increasing your physical activity level, and eating healthier. Drugs and weight-loss techniques are also available as alternatives to managing obesity.

How is Obesity Classified?

BMI Range

  • You are regarded as underweight if your BMI is under 18.5.
  • If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you are in the healthy range.
  • Being overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 to 299 or higher.
  • You are deemed obese if your BMI is 30.0 or higher.

Depending on how severe it is, obesity is divided into several class categories. They perform it using BMI. Your BMI is considered to be between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2, which is considered overweight. Healthcare professionals examine which therapies might be the most effective for each patient using three main categories of obesity. They consist of:

  • Class I obesity: BMI 30 to <35 kg/m².
  • Class II obesity: BMI 35 to <40 kg/m².
  • Class III obesity: BMI 40+ kg/m².

What are the Causes of Obesity?

Obesity is primarily brought on by consuming more calories than your body can utilise. Numerous elements play a role in this. Some elements are unique to you. Others are included in our society’s framework on a global, regional, or family scale. In certain aspects, actively combating these various causes is necessary to prevent obesity.The following variables may cause an increase in caloric intake:

  • Fast and convenience foods- It’s simple to consume a lot of calories in communities and families where highly processed fast and convenience meals are dietary mainstays. These foods can make you feel more ravenous since they are lacking in fibre and other nutrients and are heavy in sugar and fat. Their components encourage compulsive eating behaviours.
  • Sugar is in everything-  The food industry isn’t set up to keep us healthy. It is intended to market goods that we will become dependent on and desire to purchase more of. Sweets and sugary drinks, which have little nutritional value and a lot of extra calories, are among the top things on that list. But even common foods have a lot of sugar added to them to make them more tasty and addicting. It’s so widespread that it has altered our standards for flavour.
  • Marketing and advertising- The items that we need the least but that the industry requires us to buy the most are processed foods, candies, and sugary drinks, which are heavily promoted by ubiquitous advertising. These products are presented in advertising as being commonplace and essential to daily life. The sale of alcoholic beverages, which contain a lot of empty calories, is also heavily influenced by advertising.
  • Psychological factors- In today’s environment, boredom, loneliness, worry, and sadness are all prevalent and can cause overeating. They might encourage us to eat more of certain high-calorie food kinds that stimulate the pleasure centres in our brains. It’s a basic human instinct to eat when we’re feeling bad.
  • Hormones- Our hunger and fullness cues are controlled by hormones. Numerous factors, including common ones like stress and sleep deprivation as well as uncommon ones like genetic variants, might impair these regulatory functions. Even when you don’t need any more calories, hormones can make you keep wanting more food. They may make it difficult to recognise your point of exhaustion.
  • Certain medications- You may gain weight if you take medications to treat other diseases. Among these are beta-blockers, antidepressants, steroids, anti-epileptic drugs, and drugs for diabetes.

Risk factors of Obesity:

Over time, ingesting more calories than you expend results in obesity. These additional calories are turned into fat by your body. Many factors contribute to this dynamic. These are regarded as risk factors since they can raise your chances of becoming obese. Risk elements consist of:

  • Poor Diet and Little Exercise: The two main causes of weight gain are eating more calories than you burn off each day and not getting enough exercise. This is made worse by eating poorly and “drinking your calories” in alcoholic beverages or sweetened soft drinks.
  • Genetics: Some genes can increase your risk of gaining weight or possibly lead to obesity.
  • Surroundings: Several factors in our environment can make it simpler to gain weight, including huge meal portions at restaurants, a lack of affordable healthy food options and areas to be active, as well as constant promotion of junk food.
  • Antidepressants, seizure meds, birth control, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, beta-blockers, and corticosteroids are just a few of the drugs that might lead to weight gain.
  • Certain Medical Conditions: Cushing’s syndrome, PCOS, and an underactive thyroid are three hormonal conditions that can lead to obesity (hypothyroidism).
  • Poor Sleep: Studies have shown that the likelihood of developing obesity increases with the amount and quality of sleep you obtain.
  • Stress: Hormonal changes brought on by stress can lead you to eat more and even accumulate more fat.
  • Age: As you age, your hormones alter, your muscle mass declines, and your metabolism plummets. All of these could result in overeating.
  • When they stop smoking, many people tend to eat more, which can lead to weight gain. But continuing to smoke is not a good reason to avoid weight gain! By giving up smoking, you lower your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, lung problems, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases. Some evidence indicates that upping your physical activity level can help offset the weight increase associated with quitting smoking.
  • Pregnancy: After the baby is delivered, some women struggle to lose the weight they put on during pregnancy. Obesity may occur as a result of this.
  • The mix of microorganisms in your gut, or “microbiome,” is influenced by the foods you eat. This may make it simpler to put on weight or more difficult to shed it.

What are the Symptoms of Obesity?

In the majority of cases, a diagnosis can be made based just on the patient’s look and gait. Different symptoms from those in adults may occur in adolescents.

The most typical signs that a teen is obese are the ones listed below.

  • large physical frame.
  • difficulty carrying out daily tasks.
  • Face with out-of-proportion features.
  • Boys with breast area adiposity (sagging fat cells).
  • Large belly (abdomen), occasionally with purple or white marks.
  • It’s possible for male external genitalia to appear underdeveloped.
  • thighs and upper arms with flabby fat.
  • There are many knock-knees (Genu valgum).

Obesity symptoms may resemble those of other illnesses or disorders. Stress, social pressure, and carrying out developmental tasks are all fairly frequent, as well as psychological problems.

How can we Diagnosis Obesity?

Obesity is typically diagnosed after a physical examination and a review of the patient’s medical history (i.e., eating and exercise habits). Although the body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement, does not directly measure body fat, it is a valuable tool to evaluate the health risks connected to being overweight or obese. BMIs between 18.5 and 24.9 is regarded as healthy. Instead of using pounds (lb) and inches/feet, the BMI is computed using kilogrammes (kg) and metres (m). Remember that 1 lb is equivalent to 0.45 kg and that 1 inch is equal to 0.0254 m.

The BMI is determined as follows:

BMI = body weight (kg) ÷ height² (m)

  • Class I obesity: BMI 30 to <35 kg/m².
  • Class II obesity: BMI 35 to <40 kg/m².
  • Class III obesity: BMI 40+ kg/m².

What are the Complications of Obesity?

Obese people are more likely to experience numerous health issues, such as:

  • Diabetes Type 2. The body’s usage of insulin is impacted by obesity, which has an impact on blood sugar levels. Diabetes and insulin resistance are now more likely as a result.
  • Heart conditions and stroke. Increased blood pressure and cholesterol are risk factors for heart disease and stroke brought on by obesity.
  • The risk of malignancies of the uterus, breast, prostate, liver, pancreas, kidney, and other organs is also increased by obesity.
  • Apneic sleep. Obese people frequently have problems falling asleep, and obesity also contributes to sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing regularly stops and starts while a person is asleep.
  • gynaecological issues Women who are obese start having irregular periods, which might result in infertility.
  • Obese or overweight people put stress on their joints, which can result in problems like osteoarthritis.
  • other problems. Gastric troubles, liver problems, and gallbladder illnesses can all be brought on by obesity.

How can you prevent obesity?

By adopting a better lifestyle, you can personally prevent weight gain and obesity:

  • Aim for 20 to 30 minutes each day of moderate exercises, such as walking, swimming, or biking.
  • Choose healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to improve your diet.
  • Consume foods heavy in calories and fat in moderation.

How does obesity affect the body?

When your physical weight is excessive, you are considered obese. The disease of obesity can cause a lot of physical harm to your body. Severe obesity increases a person’s risk for several illnesses. These include heart disease, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many more. These illnesses, when coupled with obesity, may result in ill health. These occasionally cause ill health, disability, or even premature death.

How is Obesity Treated?

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is the objective of treating obesity. This raises general health and lessens the possibility of obesity-related problems.

Dietary changes:

You will have to modify your diet according to your unique needs if you want to reduce weight. Cutting back on snacks between meals or portion sizes may be beneficial for some people. Others might be more concerned with altering what they eat than how much. Eating more plants is advantageous for almost everyone. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes typically have higher levels of fibre and micronutrients while having lower fat content. You can feel fuller and more pleased after consuming fewer calories because they are more nutrient-dense.

Increased activity:

Everyone is aware of the importance of both food and exercise for weight loss and weight maintenance. But working out doesn’t necessarily require a gym membership. One of the most effective forms of exercise for losing weight is just walking at a moderate speed. Five days a week, for just 30 minutes, is what healthcare professionals advise. A daily stroll before or after work, during lunch, or at other times can make a difference.

Behavioural therapies:

You might benefit from counselling, support groups, and techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy in your quest to lose weight. The techniques you use may rewire your brain in a way that encourages positive changes. They can also assist you in controlling stress and addressing any emotional or psychological issues that might be hindering your progress. We are impacted by our weight and attempt to lose it on many different levels, so having support on both a psychological and practical level can be beneficial.


Your doctor might suggest taking some drugs in addition to other therapies. While they don’t provide a complete solution, medications can help approach weight loss from a different perspective. For instance, medications that suppress your appetite can block some of the brain circuits that control your hunger. This might be a minor piece of the puzzle for some, but it might be a larger one for others.

Weight loss surgery:

If you have been classified as having class III obesity, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. Surgery is a drastic but incredibly efficient way to lose considerable amounts of weight over the long term. Instead of merely affecting your thinking or behaviours, it also alters your biology. Your digestive tract is affected in some way by every bariatric surgery treatment. They limit how many calories you can take in and assimilate. Additionally, they alter digestive system hormones that influence your metabolism and hunger.

Procedures used in bariatric surgery include:

  • Gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy).
  • A gastric band (LAP band).
  • Gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y).
  • Duodenal switch.

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