Losing weight is an incredible struggle and requires a permanent change in lifestyle. We know the complications associated with being overweight or obese, and if you are embarking on a weight loss journey you may gather strength knowing that many of these are reversible or significantly improved with weight loss.
Here are common obesity associated medical conditions that will resolve or improve with weight loss.
1. Insulin resistance and adult onset diabetes: Let me keep it simple, the lifestyle changes of weight loss and exercise will reverse your insulin resistance and your need for oral diabetes medications. I promise. I see it every day in clinic.
2. High blood pressure (Hypertension): Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high blood pressure. If you are hypertensive and on blood pressure medications and you lose weight, you will often be able to lower or remove your blood pressure medications.
3. Dyslipidemia: your cholesterol panel, especially your triglycerides, will improve with weight loss and exercise.
4. Fatty liver disease (Non Alcoholic Liver Disease): This is now the number 1 cause of abnormal liver function tests in the United States. Fatty liver disease is no joke and can progress to cirrhosis. The abnormal liver blood tests and your fatty liver will normalize significantly with weight loss.
5. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obesity is the main risk factor for OSA and with weight loss you will see this improve and often completely resolve.
6. Joint pain: Obesity is strongly associated with the development of osteoarthritis, especially arthritis of the knees. A 10 pound weight loss over 10 years decreased the odds for development of knee osteoarthritis by 50%. Losing weight will also improve joint function overall.
7. Gallstones (Cholelithiasis): Obesity is the most common cause of gallstones in children and a large contributor in adults. Losing weight will decrease your risk of gallstones.
8. Skin: Many skin conditions are associated with obesity including: furuncles, abscesses, hidradenitis suppurativa and intertrigo (yeast infections in the folds of skin and under the breasts). These will improve and often resolve with weight loss.
9. Hyperandrogenism/PCOS: Obesity is associated with an increased risk of hyperandrogenism and early onset polycystic ovary syndrome. This is especially true for adolescent girls. PCOS can lead to irregular periods, insulin resistance and hirsuitism (increased hair growth).
10. Psychological issues related to obesity: Alienation, poor self esteem, anxiety and depression are all associated with obesity. In a study done on severely obese children and adolescents, their reported health related quality of life scores were similar to that reported by children and adolescents with cancer.