Understanding Severe Obesity

Being 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 extremely 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

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 extreme obesity puts you at risk for many of the same complications as obesity in general. However, with extreme 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 extreme 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.

  • Understanding the Glycemic Index
    Carbohydrates are one of the six essential nutrients. Despite common talk about avoiding carbohydrates for weight loss, our bodies require them to thrive. Carbohydrates contain sugar. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks down that sugar and absorbs it into the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin, where it is then converted to fuel and used for energy.
  • Reasons to Consider Weight Loss Surgery
    Getting weight loss surgery is a choice that can have a major influence on your health and quality of life for years to come. The conversation surrounding weight loss surgery may come up at the advice of a doctor, after seeing a friend who was successful in their weight loss efforts or maybe after a series of frustrating weight loss attempts.
  • Managing Special Occasions after Weight Loss Surgery
    Every time you turn the corner there is another fast food restaurant or bakery loaded with its own temptations, and you do what you can to stand strong and stick to your post-bariatric diet plan.
  • Healthy Shopping Strategies for a Healthy Household
    When one person in a household gets weight loss surgery, it is actually common for other members of that household to lose weight too. This is called a “halo effect.”
  • Making Healthy Food Substitutions after Weight Loss Surgery
    Approximately six weeks following weight loss surgery you’ll start making the gradual transition back to a whole-foods diet. This is an exciting period for many people. After weeks of gaining sustenance through liquids and soft foods, being able to enjoy a regular meal is something to look forward to.