Understanding the Most Common Symptoms of Being Overweight

symptoms of being overweight

According to a recent study, 70% of Americans are overweight, while only 36% acknowledge they have a weight problem. This is in stark contrast to the 1990s when most people who were overweight acknowledged the issue.

Today, most people who are overweight don’t know that they are due to a shift in the way society sees weight. This can mean that as the people around you gain weight, you don’t see that you’ve also packed on the pounds.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the symptoms of being overweight, and why you should be paying more attention to the scale instead of dismissing it.

1. Symptoms of Being Overweight: Trouble Breathing

If you have trouble breathing, this can mean you’re overweight. If you can’t do cardio without being winded, it isn’t just a sign of being out of shape. Instead, it can be a clue that your lungs are not expanding inside of your body because they’re blocked by excess weight.

For those who already have asthma or other breathing issues, being overweight can make it much worse.

This is especially troublesome if you are obese or morbidly obese, and you should consult a doctor if you notice this too often.

2. Arthritis

Most older people struggle with arthritis, but it gets worse the heavier you are. Just a small decrease in weight can help take some pressure off of your joints and thus cause your pain levels to plummet.

The heavier you are, the more your body is susceptible to inflammation, which is a major cause of arthritis. If you have arthritis and find that your pain is becoming unbearable, think about shedding some of those excess pounds. It may make a world of difference for your joints.

3. Depression

According to a 2010 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, obese people were 55% more likely to be depressed. Additionally, depressed people have a 58% higher risk of becoming obese than non-depressed individuals.

The study, however, does acknowledge some faults. Do depressed people eat because they are depressed and then become obese, or do obese people eat and then become depressed because of their weight?

Currently, that question remains unanswered. However, it is clear there is some correlation between depression and obesity.

Discover more about how to diagnose depression and other physical and mental issues.

4. High Cholesterol

Although high cholesterol isn’t something you’ll notice yourself, your doctor will likely let you know if you are experiencing it. Having too much “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels can trigger many issues.

Unfortunately, one of the problems triggered by high cholesterol is a heart attack.

Those with high cholesterol are also more prone to having a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke). It can also cause further issues and diseases like heart disease and other life-threatening problems and conditions.

5. Sleep Apnea

Many people who are overweight suffer from sleep apnea. This is characterized by a person waking up in the middle of the night and choking or being unable to breathe. Often times, they wake up for only a few moments and don’t even remember what happened.

The excess pressure of being overweight can contribute significantly to sleep apnea. It can become incredibly dangerous, especially if a person stops breathing for too long.

Often, doctors will prescribe a breathing machine or other device to help you continue to breathe as you sleep. However, you will also likely be given the directive to lose weight.

Many people have completely recovered from sleep apnea by losing weight and taking the pressure off of their throats.

6. Gallstones

Gallstones occur when the bile in your body doesn’t move through your gallbladder like it should. Instead, it begins to harden and creates gallstones, which can be incredibly painful. Most often, this requires surgery.

Many times, your doctor will simply remove your gallbladder to prevent a recurrence.

This condition most often occurs in obese women, though obese men are also at risk for gallstones. Obese women who have taken birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy are at a higher risk.

7. Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is probably the most common illness people associate with being overweight. While you can develop Type 2 diabetes without being overweight, 8 out of 10 people who contract it are overweight.

Most people who develop diabetes have an excess of belly fat, which is linked to the disease.

Diabetes occurs when your body can no longer get glucose from your blood. In addition to daily injections and changing your diet, diabetes can cause a whole host of problems. It can even lead to blindness or having to amputate your limb or limbs.

8. Cancer

While many things can cause cancer, it is thought that obesity is the second most common cause of cancer deaths, outside of cigarette smoking.

The correlation is currently unknown, but several medical journals have concluded that excess weight is linked to cancer. Currently, some theorize that people who are overweight are less likely to screen properly for cancer. For example, overweight women may be less likely to see a gynecologist for her yearly pap smear.

As a result, she may develop cancer that is undetected for a longer period of time.

Overweight men seem to also be less likely to go to their doctor to get prostate exams, citing that they are embarrassed by their excess weight.

Why Weight Matters

In our modern society, we are becoming more conditioned to seeing overweight people everywhere. While this does have its upsides, we cannot ignore the very real symptoms of being overweight.

Being overweight, especially if you are obese, can cause severe health issues. You should not delay in trying to keep excess weight off of your body to avoid future complications.

For more on all things weight loss, visit our blog.