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Patient Information

Health Issues Related to Obesity

The number of adults and children who are obese has increased steadily for the past 10 years, growing to the point that it is now considered to be an epidemic. Obesity has become a significant national health issue, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Approximately 300,000 people die each year from health problems caused by obesity. Obesity is now ranked as the second highest cause of preventable deaths in the country, with smoking-related deaths ranked as the leading cause. Diets and exercise have been consistently shown to result in weight loss, but in 90-95 percent of the cases patients regain the lost weight within 1-2 years. When compared to these results, weight loss surgery has been shown to be most effective in helping people to maintain significant weight loss.

Scientific evidence shows that being obese or overweight is a significant risk factor for several serious obesity related health issues and diseases, including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Diabetes is a serious disease that increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It damages the blood vessels throughout the body, which can result in poor circulation, amputations, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, heart attack and peripheral artery disease. Patients with diabetes may have to take insulin or other medications to control their blood sugar levels.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where the airway collapses while a patient is sleeping, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the body. Patients with this condition are required to sleep attached to a machine which keeps the airway open by forcing air into the patient’s windpipe (trachea).
  • Hypertension: Hypertension (called high blood pressure), is a common condition in patients who are overweight or obese. Hypertension is a risk factor for other serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Many patients require medications to control their blood pressure.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GERD, known as heartburn and acid reflux disease, can be very uncomfortable. Patients with GERD often need to take medications to reduce the amount of acid produced in their stomach. Untreated GERD can lead to lesions and increase risk for gastric cancer.

Studies show that patients who lose a significant amount of weight can often dramatically improve or even cure these conditions. They can also reduce or eliminate many medications – and sleep without the need for a machine to help them breathe.

Additional information about obesity is available at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.