Obesity is a term that means you weigh at least 20% more than what is considered a normal weight for your height. It makes you more likely to have conditions including:
- Heart disease and stroke
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers
- Gallbladder disease and gallstones
- Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep) and asthma
Not everyone who is obese has all of those problems. The risk rises if you have a family history of one of those conditions.
Also, where your weight is may matter. If it’s mostly around your stomach (the “apple” shape), that may be riskier than if you have a “pear” shape, meaning that your extra weight is mostly around your hips and buttocks.
Here’s a closer look at seven conditions that are linked to being obese or overweight.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Extra weight makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both of those conditions make heart disease or stroke more likely.
The good news is that losing a small amount of weight can reduce your chances of developing heart disease or a stroke. Losing 5%-10% of your weight is proven to lower your chance of developing heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
Most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. You can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising more.
If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. Becoming more active may also reduce your need for diabetes medication.
Cancers of the colon, breast (after menopause), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus are linked to obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight.
Ironically, weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can make you more likely to get gallstones. Losing weight at a rate of about 1 pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.