7 Horrible Side Effects of Obesity You Might Not Know

Probably everyone knows that obesity is not just an aesthetic concern. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk of a wide range of serious health diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. However, carrying those extra pounds can negatively impact your health in unexpected ways you may not know about. Keep reading to find out the horrible effects of obesity. 

1. Bone problems 

Obesity negatively affects bone density making it thinner and reducing muscle mass. This is referred to as osteosarcopenic obesity. Osteosarcopenic obesity can contribute to a higher risk of fractures, physical disability, insulin resistance, and poorer overall health outcomes. Plus, obesity has been known to cause degenerative disc disease which can lead to chronic upper back pain and constant neck stiffness. 

What’s more, obesity affects your joints, as extra pounds put extra burden on them, leading to osteoarthritis. 

2. Sleep apnea 

According to the National Institutes of Health, carrying extra pounds is the number one risk factor for sleep apnea. Those who have excess weight often have extra fat and inflammation around the neck, which can obstruct the airway. 

During the night, people with sleep apnea usually snore and actually stop breathing for up to a minute. That elevates the risk of some serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease. If you chronically snore, ask your healthcare provider if you should be tested for sleep apnea. 

3. Infertility 

Obesity can negatively impact your fertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, obesity is the culprit of fertility problems in six percent of women who have never been pregnant before. 

This is due to the fact that fat cells seemingly have a destructive effect on hormones that are responsible for the functioning of the reproductive system. In fact, obesity affects men as well. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, obese men were more likely to have a low sperm count compared to men of normal weight.

4. Digestive system

Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a condition in which stomach acid leaks into the esophagus.

Plus, obesity raises the risk of gallstones. Gallstones occur when bile builds up and hardens in the gallbladder. People with this condition might need surgical intervention. Fat can also build up around the liver and contribute to liver damage, scar tissues, and even liver failure.

5. Dementia 

Your brain and weight are more connected than you may think. According to a 2020 study, people who had extra pounds or obesity were at an increased risk of developing dementia. If you want to lower your risk, you simply need to lose weight. 

Obesity, like heart disease and stroke, is a modifiable risk factor for dementia as it generally can be managed through lifestyle changes, including diet and the levels of physical activity. 

6. Elevated risk of cancer 

The National Cancer Institute reports that nearly 100,000 cases of cancer diagnosed each year are provoked by obesity. Having extra pounds seems to raise the risk of certain types of cancers, such as breast, colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, and kidney cancers. 

It can be triggered by inflammation, altered cell metabolism, unhealthy eating habits, and sedentary lifestyle that often accompanies weight gain - or a combination of all four.

7. Mental problem 

According to a review of studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, obesity creates a vicious cycle: having obesity can up the risk of depression, while having constantly high levels of stress can raise your risk of getting obesity. 

Depression might cause people to make unhealthy choices like overeating, leading a sedentary lifestyle, or consuming too much alcohol. All these things can result in obesity, which in turn exacerbates depression. To lower your risk, mind your mental health.