Obesity is a significant health concern that has been identified as a leading cause of preventable illness and death, particularly in North America. The prevalence of overweight individuals has been on the rise in recent years, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to label obesity as an epidemic. In the United States, approximately 69% of adults are classified as overweight or obese, while in Canada, self-reported data indicates that 40% of men and 27% of women are overweight, and 20% of men and 17% of women are obese.

Obesity poses a higher risk of developing serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and certain types of cancers, compared to individuals with a healthy weight.

 

Prevention is always better than cure. If you experience the symptoms mentioned below, it is crucial to take action promptly and seek professional help. Click on the provided link to access assistance with medication and treatments for obesity.

 

Symptoms and Complications:

Obesity is associated with various health risks and complications, including:

 

Breathing disorders (e.g., sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Certain types of cancers (e.g., prostate and bowel cancer in men, breast and uterine cancer in women)

Coronary artery (heart) disease

Depression

Diabetes

Gallbladder or liver disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

High blood pressure

High cholesterol

Joint disease (e.g., osteoarthritis)

Stroke

Obese individuals may experience symptoms related to these medical conditions. Common symptoms include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, breathing problems, and joint pain (particularly in the knees or lower back). The severity of medical problems associated with obesity tends to increase with the degree of obesity.

 

In addition to the medical complications, obesity is also linked to psychosocial issues such as low self-esteem, discrimination, difficulty finding employment, and reduced quality of life.

 

Causes:

Obesity occurs when the body consumes more calories than it burns. While it was previously believed that overeating and lack of exercise were the sole causes of obesity, it is now recognized as a complex medical problem influenced by genetic, environmental, behavioral, and social factors. These factors collectively contribute to a person’s weight.

 

Recent research indicates that certain genetic factors can affect appetite and fat metabolism, leading to obesity in some individuals. However, genetics alone is not the primary cause of obesity. Environmental and behavioral factors have a more significant impact. Consuming excessive calories from high-fat foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle over a prolonged period contribute to weight gain. Psychological factors, such as low self-esteem, guilt, emotional stress, or trauma, can also contribute to overeating as a coping mechanism.

 

Certain medical conditions, including binge eating disorder (BED), Cushing’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome, can also lead to weight gain and obesity. BED is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, where individuals consume a large amount of food quickly and feel a lack of control over their eating.

 

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of obesity is typically based on a physical examination and a patient’s medical history, including their eating and exercise habits.