Being a little overweight may not cause many noticeable problems. However, once you are carrying a few extra kilograms, you may develop symptoms that affect your daily life.
Obesity can cause day-to-day health problems such as:
- increased sweating
- inability to cope with sudden physical activity
- feeling very tired every day
- back and joint pains
- low confidence and self esteem
- feeling isolated
Obesity can also cause changes you may not notice, but that can seriously harm your health, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol levels (fatty deposits blocking your arteries). Both conditions significantly increase your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as:
- coronary heart disease, which may lead to a heart attack
- stroke, which can cause significant disability and can be fatal
Another long-term problem that can affect obese people is type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that just under half of all cases of diabetes are linked to obesity. The main symptoms of diabetes are:
- feeling very thirsty
- going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- extreme tiredness
Obesity can contribute to many other chronic conditions, including some cancers, some asthma, back problems, chronic kidney disease, dementia, gallbladder disease, gout, and osteoarthritis. Being overweight or obese is also associated with dying prematurely.
In addition to the day-to-day health problems, many people may also experience psychological problems.
These can affect relationships with family members and friends and may lead to depression.
Last reviewed: July 2018