Obesity Symptoms & Warning Signs
Overall, the symptoms and consequences of obesity are similar: people gain weight and then fall outside of a healthy body weight range. To some extent and for the most part, obese people appear large in size compared to people of a similar height who fall within a healthy body weight range. In addition to appearing large, people who are extremely overweight or obese will have a Body Mass Index (BMI) level above 29.
The visual symptoms tend to be the most obvious characteristic of obesity. People who are overweight or obese will carry an excess of fatty tissue all over the body. As you become obese, you will notice changes in your weight. For the most part, the process of becoming obese is long. You will not become obese over night, and the entire process could end up taking months or years. Some people who suddenly become sick or injured may notice a rapid increase in their weight, especially if they are on certain medications or if their lifestyles become sedentary.
The symptoms of obesity include an increase in weight, an increase in BMI, and an increase in the mass around your abdomen, thighs, arms, face, or anywhere on your body. Your weight may change rapidly or slowly, depending on your age, lifestyle, metabolism, diet, and exercise habits. The underlying cause of your obesity can also affect how slowly or quickly you develop symptoms.
You might start to develop additional complications that vary based on factors including your age, what is causing your obesity, how long you have been obese, and whether you are at risk of developing certain conditions based on your personal and family medical history.
The increased pressure on your joints may cause you to develop arthritis and other joint disorders such as tendinitis. If you have already been diagnosed with arthritis, the additional stress on your body that you experience from being obese can cause your flare-ups to become more painful or occur more frequently. Back aches, sleep apnea, heartburn, and indigestion are also more common among people who are overweight or obese, especially if they do not eat balanced meals or exercise enough.
Over time, your obesity will cause you to develop severe complications, and your existing health problems may become even worse. People who are obese are a high risk group for conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. If you do not keep your obesity under control, you may end up suffering a heart attack or stroke - both conditions can be fatal, especially for people who are obese.
If you have asthma, obesity can cause your condition to become worse by further constricting your airways. You may notice that your asthma is becoming worse as you gain weight, or you may even develop asthma and additional breathing problems from being overweight.
Women who are obese may notice irregularities in their menstrual cycles. Being overweight can cause a delay in your menstrual period, and in some situations, overweight women may stop having their periods, altogether. If you miss a period, you should consult a doctor to rule out the possibility that you are pregnant and to test for underlying medical conditions that may be affecting your menstrual cycle.
Obesity, for many people, can cause depression. You may be unhappy because you feel less motivated to go out and enjoy life. Because of your weight, you might feel that you are physically limited from going out and enjoying life. The more sedentary your life becomes, the more tired that you will feel. You may not feel motivated to keep up with your daily activities, and you might feel hopeless and depressed. Depression may lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, causing you to feel less motivated to stay active. As you become less motivated, you may become more obese, and as you become more obese, you may become less motivated.
You might also feel very unhappy with the way that you look. Adolescents, especially, may lose self confidence and become preoccupied with their body image and weight. You may start experiencing problems professionally, in school, or in other social situations.
If your weight causes you to feel depressed, then it is a major problem. Talk to a doctor about ways to treat your mental health symptoms while you try to bring your weight under control. Understand that there is hope - the sooner you take initiative, the sooner your weight and mood will be under control.
If you start to feel chest pain or if you have trouble breathing, then you may be having a heart attack. If you are unable to lose weight even after dieting and exercising, you may have an underlying condition that is causing you to gain weight. Make sure that you stay up to date with your routine physicals to monitor whether your weight is causing complications and to determine whether you have any underling medical conditions that are causing you to become obese.