Severe obesity is a chronic debilitating disease that steals the lives of our loved ones primarily through the development of other serious diseases. These diseases are known as “obesity related conditions” or more commonly “comorbid diseases”. These are the diseases that steal the quality of and ultimately shorten the lives of the severely obese.
Adult onset or type II diabetes develops in this severely obese patient because their cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. When the body’s tissues become resistant to insulin the blood sugar becomes elevated causing damage to the tissue.
High blood pressure develops in this severely obese patient because the resistance in the patient’s circulatory system increases as their body mass increases. This increased resistance requires an increase of pressure in order to circulate the blood throughout the body resulting in hypertension. The body’s tissues including the heart, brain and kidneys are not capable of handling the excessively high pressures and become damaged leading to heart attacks, strokes and renal failure.
When the patient becomes severely obese excess fatty tissue is often distributed in the soft tissues including the neck. This excess of adipose tissues causes the soft tissues of the upper airway to collapse when relaxed during sleep. The tissues essentially fall into the upper airway obstructing the flow of air. This results and dangerously low blood oxygen levels. Another consequence is that the patient may stop breathing for extended periods of time resulting in a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. The patient is unable to sleep and is chronically fatigued and exhausted.
Heartburn is a consequence of severe obesity because of the increased abdominal pressures that result. Increased pressure in the abdomen causes the acid contents in the stomach to reflux into the esophagus. The esophagus is not able to tolerate acids and therefore becomes inflamed and it may ulcerate, bleed or form excessive scar tissue preventing the passage of food. Rarely esophageal cancer can result.
Arthritis develops in the major weight-bearing joints such as the hips knees and ankles in a severely obese patient because of the increased pressure on them. This causes excessive wear and tear on the delicate cartilage lining wearing the joint and out prematurely.
Depression is a severe debilitating disease caused by obesity when neuron-hormonal changes occur in the brain. When at patient is depressed because of the obesity they have excellent results resolving their depression with bariatric surgery.
The severely obese patient’s adipose tissue alters the bodies sex hormone levels in a way that prevents normal ovulation. As the patient loses weight their bodies hormones normalize allowing ovulation to occur and fertility rates increase dramatically after bariatric surgery.
It is known that the severely obese suffer from increased rates of cancer development and their mortality from cancer is higher as well. Losing weight has been shown to decrease both the development and death from cancer of all types.
Physicians Plaza 1, Suite 305
Turkey Creek Medical Center
10810 Parkside Drive
Knoxville, TN 37934