Obesity has been reported to cause or exacerbate a large number of health problems, which has known impact on both life expectancy and quality of life. Obesity leads to direct physical disability since the feet have to carry extra load, complications like flat feet, osteoarthritis of knee, hips and lumbar spine are common. The abdominal muscles that support the viscera and leg muscles are infiltered with fat hence their normal mechanical action is impaired with abdominal hernias and varicose veins. Adipose tissue around chest and diaphragm interferes with respiration and predisposes bronchitis.
There's a close association between obesity and diabetes. In simple obesity, there is insulin resistance especially in muscle and there is hyper-insulinemia because of impaired insulin uptake by receptors in target tissues.
Plasma cholesterol level is generally high therefore prone to develop gall stones.
Excess cholesterol in plasma leads to deposition in intima of arteries producing atherosclerosis.
Gout is common.
Cardiovascular disorders Apart from atherosclerosis, obese people develop high blood pressure and increased incidence of varicose veins.
Sleep apnea A transitory cessation of breathing is increasingly identified in obese children and adolescents.
Prone to accidents obese people are likely to meet with accidents by falling down on slippery floors and crossing streets.
Gall Stones Obese people have higher output of cholesterol in bile, with a lower concentration. So their bile is constantly in danger of forming gall stones.
Osteoarthritis Degenerative disease of weight-bearing joints is a very common complication of obesity, in the knees of middle-aged women and causes significant disability.
Obstetrical risks obese women when pregnant have greater obstetrical risks because of hypertension, diabetes and postpartum infection. Restriction of weight gain in these individuals may cause complication during pregnancy. There is an increased risk of neural tube defects in newborn of obese mothers. There is reduced fertility in obese subjects.
Psychological disturbances obese adolescents have been found to have personality characteristics of self blame, withdrawal and feeling of inferiority.
Low life expectancy The statistics of Metropolitan Life Insurance USA shows that for a man aged 45 with an increase of 12 kg body weight above standard weight reduces his life expectancy by 25 per cent. The relative risk associated with obesity decreases with age over 75.
Cancer Certain cancers (colon, rectum and prostate in men; uterus, biliary tract, breast and ovary in women) digestive tract diseases (gallstones, reflux, oesophagitis) and skin disorders are more prevalent in the obese.