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Obesity and Its effects on the Human Body


Obesity is a complex disease compromising of an excessive amount of body fat. It is not only limited to looks. It is a serious medical condition and increases the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure


This article will help provide a deeper understanding of obesity and its effects on the body so more people will make healthier choices.


Obesity negatively impacts almost every part of the body including:


  • Heart

  • Liver

  • Brain

  • Bones and Joints

  • Blood Vessels

  • Endocrine System

  • Reproductive System


Digestive System


Fat build-up around liver causes serious damage causing scar tissue build up. Early stage fatty liver ( Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) usually does not cause any harm but if it remains untreated and worsens it can cause Liver Cirrhosis leading to liver failure


Obesity increases the risk of gall stone formation. This is when bile builds up and starts to get hard in the gall bladder.


Obesity is also associated with increased heart burn or GERD ( Gastro-esophageal reflux disease). GERD occurs when the acidic stomach secretions along with food and fluid move back towards the esophagus, irritating the esophageal lining.


Endocrine System


Obesity makes the body's cells resistant to insulin. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is used to produce energy.


Increased insulin resistance hinders the cells ability to take up glucose, causing the level of glucose to rise in the blood. This in return increases the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (a condition in which the blood sugar/glucose level is too high). Type 2 Diabetes is linked with other serious health complications including kidney disease, stroke, blindness and peripheral neuropathy.


Reproductive System


Obesity makes getting pregnant more difficult. It is linked to low testosterone levels in men and can aggravate PCOS in women.


It also increases the risk of developing complications during pregnancy for the mother and the fetus like Gestational Diabetes, Premature birth and Increased weight of the baby


Nervous System


Obesity causes inflammation and early neurodegeneration of the nerves. It also increases the risk for stroke resulting in impaired brain function, when it happens.


Respiratory System


Increased visceral fat causes physical compression the of chest, exerting pressure on diaphragm, lungs and the chest cavity, which causes impaired breathing. This is more pronounced during sleeping when excessive fat around the neck causes the airway to constrict, making breathing difficult at night. This is called Sleep Apnea


Musculoskeletal System


Increased body fat results in increased body mass which in return puts a lot of pressure on the joints and bones. This also causes joint stiffness and pain.


Obesity can causes bones and muscle mass to start deteriorating, this causes a higher risk of fractures, physical disability and joints to wear out faster.


Cardiovascular System


Obesity causes increased levels of fat in the blood stream, usually high LDL ( low density lipids, the bad fats), low HDL ( high density lipids, the good fats) and high levels of Triglycerides. It also causes fats to deposit in the blood vessels causing them to become narrow. This deposition of the fats in the blood vessels is called atherosclerosis and the narrowing results in hypertension ( increased blood pressure).


Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in obese people.


Mental Wellbeing


Obese people usually face social stigma usually starting from a young age lasting into adulthood as long as the excess weight is present. This can give rise to a number of different mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, negative emotions, problems with body image and reduced well-being.

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