Understanding Severe Obesity

Understanding Severe ObesityBeing overweight is always risky for your health. However, when someone is significantly overweight, the condition becomes much more serious. The term “severe obesity” is used to describe individuals whose weight has increased to a much more hazardous level.

Defining Severe Obesity

Severe obesity occurs when an individual’s BMI exceeds 40. An individual is also considered severely obese when he or she has a BMI of 35 or higher along with another complicating condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. To determine your current BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

How it Develops

Severe obesity typically develops from a combination of contributing factors. Examples of risk factors for severe obesity include:

  • Genetics
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Eating too many calories
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Comorbid medical conditions

Eliminating risk factors that you have control over may help you avoid severe obesity.


Developing severe obesity puts you at risk for many of the same complications as obesity in general. However, with severe obesity, the risk of complications is higher, and conditions often progress faster. Possible complications of severe obesity may include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain cancers

Treating Severe Obesity

If you are suffering from severe obesity, your health is at risk. The longer you remain overweight, the more serious your condition will become. Furthermore, as more complications develop, losing weight may become more difficult. Fortunately, you can improve your health through weight loss.

Some of the most common weight loss methods include reducing your caloric intake and beginning an appropriate exercise regimen. However, for severely obese people weight loss surgery is usually the preferred method of treatment.  Keep in mind that even if you choose weight loss surgery, lifestyle changes are still recommended to maintain your weight loss.