What is Morbidly Obese?

Weight issues are not a new thing in our society due to the availability of so many low cost processed food options that are high in fat and sugar. It is far easier to pop a donut into your mouth than to take the time to create a healthy salad that contains nutritious vegetables and is full of fiber, low in sugar and won't spike your blood sugars. So what is morbidly obese? When a person is classified as morbidly obese, they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of higher than 40.


What is BMI?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of the height of an individual to their weight. A normal BMI is between 20 and 25, but a morbidly obese individual has a BMI of 35 or higher. The number 35 is enough to promote health conditions related to obesity including diabetes and high blood pressure. Health conditions can become much more serious as the BMI number rises including the individual experiencing difficulty walking and breathing. All obesity-related health challenges can lead to a lower life expectancy.

Body mass index BMI

Body mass index BMI

Common Morbid Obesity Related Diseases

1. Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure.

It is very hard on the heart when the body has packed on excess weight. Obese individuals can also experience high blood pressure which may cause strokes, leading to damage to the heart and the kidneys.

Heart Disease Danger

Risk factors for heart disease danger as a medical health care lifestyle concept with an overweight person walking on an elongated artery highwire as a symbol for coronary illness hazard or high blood pressure.

2. Osteoarthritis.

With all of the extra weight being added to the joints and in particular the knees and the hips, all of the joints that bear weight can start to experience rapid wear and tear and lead to severe pain and inflammation. The strain that is placed on the muscles and bones can also cause disk issues, increased pain and a decrease in mobility.

3. Sleep Apnea.

This is an issue that is being seen more and more often with morbidly obese individuals. Air passages can be blocked due to fat deposits in the neck and the tongue. When people sleep on their back, they can lose sleep which results in them feeling tired during the day and experiencing headaches.

Sleep Apnea

Woman wearing CPAP machine for sleep apnea

4. Depression.

People who are very overweight can experience plenty of emotional challenges. They try diets and fail, they are mocked by the general population, family and friends disapprove of their weight, and they cannot comfortably fit into places where normal weight people can. If a person with morbid obesity becomes depressed, it may cause them to stop leaving their home and eventually their bedroom.
Some become bedridden and are cared for by family members, never to be seen in the general public again after they reach a weight where they cannot leave their bed.



5. Incontinence.

When the abdomen becomes extremely heavy, it can cause the pelvic muscles to relax and cause stress in the urinary tract. This, in turn, weakens the urinary bladder valve and causes leakage issues when a person sneezes, coughs or laughs.

6. Acid Reflux.

All of that added weight will weaken the valve at the top of the stomach, which willallow acid to escape directly into the esophagus. This reflux has symptoms such as “heartburn” and acid indigestion which can be extremely uncomfortable, however about 15% of people who experience even the mildest of heartburn can lead to complications such as Barrett's esophagus, where the lining membrane changes (pre-malignant) and may result in esophageal cancer.

Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

7. Infertility.

Obesity can play havoc with hormones in males and females. It can disrupt normal monthly cycles in women and cause serious conception difficulties.

8. Type 2 Diabetes.

Obese people become insulin resistant, and this can lead to problems with blood sugar level regulation. Their blood sugar skyrockets and this causes Type 2 diabetes, a highly dangerous condition if not kept in check.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Many of these health related conditions can interfere with normal function. It can be uncomfortable to move, difficult to breathe, impossible to find clothing that fits and hard to live a normal life. Morbid obesity is becoming an epidemic in today's society, and it is important that we all consider ways that we can reduce the amount of sugar and processed food in our diet, looking toward eating more fruits and vegetables and getting more active.

Serena Jessica

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