Pathophysiology Effects of Obesity


Obesity is one of the most common disorders reported in primary care. About 68% of the people in the world suffer from obesity and obesity-related conditions. The nature of the people’s lifestyle has changed greatly in the twenty-first century and today people spend most of their time in a sitting position or doing minimal physical activities. Additionally, the availability of cheap fast foods has made it hard for people to control and manage their weight, therefore, leading to obesity. Research indicates that weight-related problems are in 35% of cases associated with the genetic makeup of a person; therefore, the other 65% is depended on the environment and lifestyle and are, therefore, manageable (Lesile, 2012). The interaction of these two risk factors determines the likelihood of an individual to suffer from obesity. In some environments, people are highly predisposed to obesity based on their genetics. Obesity is a serious problem and a leading cause of mortality throughout the world. It affects the normal functioning of the body leaving an individual susceptible to other conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and gall bladder diseases among other complications. The prevention of obesity involves living a healthy life characterized by quality physical exercise and healthy eating habits (Lesile, 2012).


The most commonly used assessment of obesity is BMI. The body mass index measures the height and weight of a person to determine the percentage of body fat. BMI is an affordable assessment mechanism that can be done many times, even during the treatment process to determine the progress of a patient. The normal BMI is between 18.5 kg/m2 and 24.5 kg/m2. A person with a BMI of between 25-29.9 kg/m2 is considered overweight while that of 30kg/m2 and above indicates obesity. The measure of waist circumference is often done for men because people with extremely large waists are considered to be at a higher risk of developing obesity. Checking vitals ensures that the patient is monitored closely to avoid further complications associated with obesity (Greenway, 2015).

Obesity occurs when the body uses fewer calories than the amount consumed. Several things to expect from an obese person include low attuned sedentary energy consumption, high respiration quotient, and low levels of impulsive physical activity. Additionally, most obese people have eating disorders and mobility complications. Women, older people, members of minority communities, and people of low socioeconomic status suffer obesity more in comparison to their counterparts. Understanding the history of the patient can help the caregiver to devise the best treatment mechanism. Resistance training is necessary for people with high susceptibility to obesity to avoid regaining weight (Lesile, 2012).

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Associated Diseases

Several diseases are associated with obesity. Hypertension is common among people with a high BMI. Weight gain prevents the body from functioning normally, therefore, raising the blood pressure. Obesity causes changes in the vascular wall and volume, affects water absorption, and activates the sympathetic nervous system causing hypertension (Greenway, 2015). In addition, obese people have more fat in their bodies, which leads to hypertension. Another common condition associated with obesity is dyslipidemia which results from poor lipid metabolism and glucose management.

People with obesity are more likely to develop gallbladder diseases. According to recent research, people with a high BMI and a higher waist to hip ratio are likely to suffer from gallbladder diseases. Cancer, the number one killer disease, is also associated with obesity. People with obesity are likely to suffer from breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Cardiovascular diseases are highly associated with obesity. Most people who suffer from obesity have intra-abdominal fat that interferes with blood pressure. Furthermore, excess fat affects blood lipids, therefore, interfering with the body’s ability to utilize insulin. Blood pressure and ineffective functioning of insulin lead to hypertension and diabetes respectively. These two conditions are highly associated with cardiovascular diseases (Apovian & Gokce, 2012). In other words, obesity can cause cardiovascular problems directly or indirectly by initiating other conditions that are risk factors for heart diseases.

Abnormal Lab Values

Several samples are tested in the lab to determine whether an individual suffers from obesity. Uric acid, thyroid-stimulating hormones, hematocrit, hemoglobin, high and low-density lipoproteins, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood glucose are the key measures that are used. For a healthy individual, the normal blood glucose is 80-120mg/dl and the cholesterol levels should be less than 200mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150mg/dl, the low-density lipoproteins should be less than 100, high-density lipoproteins should be between 40-60, hemoglobin should be 13-16mg/dl, hematocrit should be 36-44%, thyroid stimulating hormone should be 0.35-5.50, and uric acid should be 3.5-7.8 for a normal person. Higher results than the normal indicate overweight or obesity (Greenway, 2015).

Physical Examination

Physical exams are commonly done for people suspected to have obesity. Repeated failure in achieving a sustained weight loss is a common problem for people suffering from this condition. People with larger waist circumferences and a BMI of 30 or more are said to have obesity. Food consumption, sedentary lifestyle, and the genetic makeup of a person are the main causes of obesity in the world today (Apovian & Gocke, 2012).

Obesity can be prevented by eating healthy and engaging in physical exercise. Healthy eating includes taking in the right quantity of calories, consuming smaller quantities of foods, avoiding unhealthy fats, and avoiding refined sugars. Engaging in physical exercise helps one to expedite the burning of excess calories, therefore, reducing the risk of suffering from obesity.

Medications, Treatments, and Means of Prevention

Three treatment mechanisms exist for obesity. Lifestyle treatment is the most recommended kind of treatment in primary care. The patient is expected to achieve 6-10% weight loss within a period of six weeks. The treatment involves changing one’s diet and engaging in physical exercise to achieve and sustain the required weight (Lesile, 2012). The treatment is effective for people whose obesity has not escalated.

Pharmacotherapy is used to treat obesity when the patient is at a higher risk of developing other weight-related diseases. Appetite suppressants are prescribed to manage the eating habits of the patient since most people suffering from obesity have eating complications. Furthermore, anorexiant fat blockers are prescribed to prevent the accumulation of excess fat in the body. The most common drugs for obesity treatment include phentermine and diethylpropion (Apovian & Gocke, 2012). The third treatment is bariatric surgery, which is advised for people with extreme cases of obesity. The choice of the treatment depends on the patient’s preference, the severity of the condition, and the advice of the practitioner.


Obesity has gone above the critical threshold and there is a need for people suffering from this condition to seek treatment to reduce the detrimental effects that this disorder has on society. Obesity can be managed if treatment is sought at the right time.



Apovian, C., & Gokce, N. (2012). Obesity and cardiovascular disease. Circulation, 125, 1178-1182.

Greenway, F. (2015). Physiological adaptations to weight loss and factors favoring weight regain. International Journal of Obesity, 39, 1188-1196.

Leslie, H. (2012). Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. Journal of Applied Physiology, 133(12), 1831-1837.