Signs and Symptoms of Obesity That You Should Be Aware Of from Signs and Symptoms of Obesity That You Should Be Aware Of

Signs and Symptoms of Obesity That You Should Be Aware Of

More than one-third – 34.9 percent or 78.6 million – of adults in the country are obese, according to the Journal of American Medicine, and there is no indication of the trend changing.

“There are many reasons that people become affected by obesity,” according to Craig Primack MD, FACP, FAAP at Scottsdale Weight Loss Center  and Vice-President of Obesity Medicine Association. It is much more complex than just eating too much or exercising too little.

“Obesity is considered a chronic disease and should be treated as such,” he adds. It is a complex disorder characterized by having too much body fat.

How it makes a person look is the least of the problems it can cause. The condition increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, to name a few.

Don’t count on Body Mass Index (BMI)

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“BMI is not a great measure of the amount of fat that a patient is carrying,” Dr. Primack says. BMI is an index that takes into account only a person’s height and weight. “It is good for studies as it’s easy to do but is only a rough marker of the amount of fat they carry,” he adds.

Look at your waist

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“The person who has the larger waist circumference will have more subcutaneous fat and likely visceral fat (which is metabolically harmful to them),” Dr. Primack says. Using this as a measure, men should be less than 40 inches and women less than 35 inches, he adds. If your waist is equal or larger, it’s time to see an appropriate physician for an evaluation and possible treatment.

Body fat percentage

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Women have obesity when their body fat is greater than 32 percent, and men have obesity with body fat percent greater than 25 percent, according to Dr. Primack. The body fat calculator takes into account gender, weight as well as waist, wrist, hip and forearm circumference.

Are you taking any meds?

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There are a lot of common medications that can be harmful to a patient’s weight, according to Dr. Primack. Physicians usually prescribe a medication for the primary indicated effect. “What are not always taken into account are the secondary effects that may include weight gain,” he adds. “The potential mechanisms are various but include stimulating appetite, decreasing sleep and changing hormones to increase appetite or decrease fullness.”

Did you just stop smoking?

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Smoking cessation can often lead to weight gain, even though it’s not clear why this happens, Dr. Primack says. “Obesity Medicine physicians counsel patients or use medications to counteract weight gain when quitting.” There are two possible reasons, he adds. One is that less energy is needed for repair of the damage to the body from the tobacco. The other is the change of one oral habit (smoking) for another oral habit (eating).

Alcohol can be a problem

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Alcohol has three potential problems, Dr. Primack says. It is empty calories that are used preferentially to other calories; we tend to eat more as we drink more; sleep tends to suffer as one drinks. “[People] fall asleep easy but it is not a deep and restorative sleep, often marked by a lot of nighttime awakening.” 

Are you out of breath?

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Breathlessness is a non-specific symptom but can be worsened by the presence of obesity, Dr. Primack says. If you know you are overweight and experience breathing problems such as shortness of breath when moving around or you can’t handle quick bursts of physical activity, you may be at risk of being obese.

Excessive sweating without exercising

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Obesity is one of several conditions that can cause excessive sweating. Decreasing your weight means you that you will have a smaller body, which means fewer calories will be burned. All of this leads to less heat being produced by the body and less sweating. Less heat moves across the skin, reducing sweating.

Snoring

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Sleeping affects your health in many ways. Snoring is another non-specific condition that can be worsened if you are obese. An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, which is often associated with people who are overweight, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The reason is that weight gain can also lead to more weight around the trunk and neck area, compromising respiratory function and increasing the risk of sleep-disordered breathing.

Feeling very tired every day

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Fatigue, as in tiredness without increased sleep propensity, has been associated with obesity. A medical review shows that obesity per se is associated with objective and subjective daytime sleepiness regardless of sleep apnea and sleep loss. “Indeed, obese patients without sleep apnea are sleepier compared to non-obese controls whereas within the morbidly obese, those who have high sleep efficiency at night are sleepier than those who have low sleep efficiency.”

Lower back pain

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Studies have shown a link between being overweight or obese and having an increased risk of lower back pain. The association is strongest for seeking care for low back pain and chronic low back pain. Your back is supporting more weight than it should, and this can be one reason why it hurts. But it’s not uncommon for obese people to have several medical problems, each of which can cause back pain.