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Health Effects of Morbid Obesity

Hypertension Gallbladder Disease
Diabetes Mellitus Infertility
Coronary Heart Disease Increased risk of cancer
Stroke Degenerative Arthritis
Increased risk of cancer Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Restrictive Lung Disease Varicose Veins
Sleep Apnea Venous Stasis Disease


Increased blood pressure is correlated with obesity. According to the Metropolitan Life Insurance company, the risk of developing hypertension among previously normotensive individuals was proportional to the degree of overweight. Increased blood pressure may result in the damage to the heart, blood vessels, and other body organs. This may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease.

Diabetes Mellitus:

Obese individuals develop a resistance to insulin. Resistance to insulin results in elevated levels of blood sugar or glucose. Elevated blood sugar levels result in damage to tissues and blood vessels throughout the body. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, a major cause of kidney failure and heart disease. More than one half of extremity amputations are the result of the complications of this disease. It is the #3 cause of death in the U.S.

Heart Disease:

Excess body weight strains the heart. Morbidly obese persons are approximately 6 times more likely to develop heart disease than those of normal weight. The increased work load on the heart leads to the early development of congestive heart failure. Increased levels of blood fats and other metabolic changes associated with obesity pre-dispose to coronary artery disease. Sudden cardiac death is 40 times as likely in morbidly obese persons compared to their non-obese counterparts.

Respiratory Insufficiency:

In obese individuals the chest wall is heavy and difficult for the muscles to lift. The lungs are decreased in size, while the need for oxygen is increased. The person finds themselves out of breath with even modest levels of exercise. This leads to a decreased level of conditioning. Ultimately daily activities, such as shopping, climbing stairs, or doing yard work, become difficult if not impossible.

Sleep Apnea

Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can cause intermittent obstruction of the upper airway. In obese persons, this commonly causes stoppage of breathing during sleep. The common scenario is loud snoring, interspersed with periods of complete obstruction. The affected person often notices that he sleeps poorly and awakens repeatedly during the night. They often awake feeling tired and fall asleep periodically throughout the day. This condition is often thought to be a relatively benign process, however the reverse is true. Health effects may be severe and include high blood pressure and cardiac rhythm disturbances. The mortality rate of this condition is high.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:

A weak or overloaded valve in the last part of the esophagus may allow reflux of stomach juices into the esophagus and even into the back of the throat. This is often called "heart burn" or "acid indigestion". The acid and alkaline fluid from the stomach can damage the lower esophagus and lead to the development of a pre-malignant condition known as "Barrett's esophagus". The stomach fluid may regurgitate high enough to allow the fluid to spill over into the airway and lungs. This often occurs at night when one is recumbent and asleep.

Asthma and Bronchitis:

Obesity does not directly cause asthma or bronchitis; however, the gastroesophageal reflux associated with obesity may seriously aggravate asthma and even cause bronchitis.

Degenerative Arthritis:

Degenerative disease of the lumbo-sacral spine and the weight bearing joints is a common complication of morbid obesity. The entire weight of the upper body falls on the base of the spine. The increased weight causes the bone and cartilage to wear out or fail. The hips, knees, ankles, and feet also bear most of the weight of the body. The wear and tear on these joints is greatly accelerated by carrying excess weight.

Gallbladder Disease:

Gallstone formation and complications from gallstones occur several times more frequently in obese persons compared to the non-obese. Gallstones can cause obstruction to bile outflow from the gallbladder. Bile is needed to promote absorption and digestion of fats by the small intestine. Obstruction of bile outflow causes upper abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. It can lead to severe infections and gangrenous changes of the gallbladder.


Obesity is associated with a decreased ability to produce offspring.

Increased Risk of Cancer:

Obese women have a three times greater risk of cancer of the ovary and breast, as well as five times greater chance of uterine cancer than normal weight persons.

Obese men have a three times greater risk for cancer of the colon and prostate than the non-obese.

The obese risk of dying from other types of cancer is greater by about 1/3 for men and over ½ for women as compared with the non-obese.

Venous Stasis Disease:

The veins of the lower extremities are equipped with one way valves to combat gravity, and combined with the muscles in the leg, allow blood to return to the heart. The increased pressure caused by obesity leads to failure of these delicate valves. The pressure in the veins of the lower extremities then increases, causing swelling of the legs, which can be severe. This swelling may results in damaged ulcerated skin and an increased risk of venous thrombosis.

Many of Dr. Teng’s patients travel from near by towns to seek his expertise in bariatric surgery. We have provided directions to our practice from the following cities for your convenience:

Home | Understanding Weight-Loss Surgery | Sleeve Gastrectomy | LapBand | Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass | Single Incision Surgery
da Vinci® Robotic Surgery | Is WLS right for me? | Health Effects of Obesity | Seminars & Support | Calculate Your BMI | Credentials | Success Stories
eStore | Finances | Contact Us
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