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What is Obesity? – Causes, Symptoms and More

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Obesity is distinct as excess and accumulation of fat in the body. It can be classified as a chronic disease, which generally arises after a combination of factors, such as genetic load, sedentary lifestyle, low level of physical activity, diet and age, among others.

According to the University Clinic of Navarra, “the accumulation of fatty tissue occurs when energy intake in the form of calories is greater than the body’s calorie consumption under resting conditions ( basal metabolism ), heat production and caloric consumption derived from physical activity.

What Causes Obesity?

What Causes Obesity_

Although genetic causes and behavioral hormonal factors exist, obesity occurs when people eat more calories than they burn with physical activity. These excess calories end up accruing into the body as fat.

On the other hand, if the person has a sedentary lifestyle. It is easier for an excess intake of calories to occur. And of course, there are diet, and eating habits are crucial elements, mainly if the person regularly eats fast or high-calorie food. However, there is also alteration due to a pharmacological component, for example, psychotropic treatments, such as some antidepressants or tranquillizers, and hormonal ones, particularly estrogenic compounds, which can cause weight gain.

Childhood obesity can be due to genetic, environmental or low energy expenditure-related factors.

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Symptoms of Obesity

Among the symptoms and problems caused by obesity, we highlight:

Respiratory Symptoms

Excessive fat accumulation under the diaphragm and in the chest wall can cause increased pressure in the lungs, making the person feel short of breath and choke, even with minimal exertion.

Joint symptoms

It can cause lower back pain and osteoarthritis problems in the knees, hips, and ankles. In this line, the swelling of the ankles and feet due to the accumulation of liquids is joint.

cerebrovascular complications

It favours the appearance of arterial hypertension and the development of coronary insufficiency and increases the risk of suffering cerebrovascular accidents.

Sleep disorders

Excess weight could lead to sleep apnea syndrome, which reduces the level of oxygen in the blood.

Skin disorders

Obese people have a small body surface area relative to their weight. Therefore, heat cannot be removed efficiently, causing them to sweat more than other people.

Diagnosis of Obesity

To identify obesity, it is recommend to perform the body mass index. If this reveals a level of obesity, then a physical examination is carried out, and other complementary tests, such as these:

  • Medical history: The doctor reviews the patient’s weight, physical activity habits, family history, eating patterns, medication use, and stress levels.
  • General physical exam: It includes measuring height, checking vital signs such as heart rate. Blood pressure, and temperature, and checking the lungs and abdomen.
  • Measure the waist circumference: Stored fat around your waist, called visceral fat, can further increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Control other health problems: The doctor will look for signs of high blood pressure. High cholesterol, abnormalities in the thyroid gland, liver problems, and diabetes.

Treatment for Obesity

Treatment alternatives revolve around changes in the patient’s diet and lifestyle. The objective is to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Diet changes involve cutting calories and limiting your intake of foods high in carbohydrates or fat. In addition, low-calorie shakes or bars may be included.

People with obesity also need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity to avoid weight gain and contribute to its progressive loss.


Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

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