Common Comorbidities (complications) of Morbid Obesity

Type 2 Diabetes


Virtually all morbidly obese patients will have elevated fasting insulin levels which means that the pancreas is working harder to keep the blood sugar levels from rising. Some patients end up diabetic requiring medication as well as developing the serious complications of diabetes including neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, eyesight problems and kidney failure. Symptoms of diabetes include passing lots of urine and being continually thirsty. Insulin is a powerful anabolic drug and further weight gain is generally the rule when patients are placed on this.

 

Musculoskeletal problems. Joints are placed under severe stress leading to reduced mobility and wear and tear. Joint replacements are frequently required and sometimes patients will be turned down for joint replacement surgery because their weight is too high. Gout is more prevalent with obesity.

 

Hypertension and Cardiac problems 
Morbidly obese patients have a high incidence of hypertension and cardiac problems. High blood pressure contributes to heart strain, exercise tolerance is reduced and heart attack risk and congestive cardiac failure risk is increased.

Gastrooesophageal reflux 
Raised intraabdominal pressure and eating factors predispose the morbidly obese patient to Gastroesophageal reflux and it's problems. Patients may suffer from severe heartburn and regurgitation.

 

Respiratory Complications
Patients may wake up at night gasping for breath, this is known as sleep apnoea and some patients need CPAP a type of ventilation system to help them breathe. Snoring is frequently a problem, particularly for spouses. Patients may also suffer from narcolepsy (a tendency to fall asleep easily particularly whilst sitting). This can pose a potential risk particularly whilst driving. Asthmatic symptoms are more common as breathing is more restricted. Pulmonary hypoventilation syndrome can be another serious complication of morbid obesity.

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