What is Morbid Obesity? - Understand the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The term "morbid obesity" is mentioned frequently in medical reports and the media. It's no secret that obesity rates have sky-rockets in the last couple of decades causing serious health problems for millions of people in the U.S. and abroad, but what is morbid obesity and how is it defined? And how can morbid obesity be avoided and treated?

Let's learn more about what it means to be morbidly obese, exam some of the side effects of obesity and how morbid obesity treatments can provide hope for a healthier future:

What Is Morbid Obesity?

While obesity means having a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30, morbid obesity is a BMI of 35 or higher. Also referred to as "clinically severe obesity," morbid obesity significantly increases the risk of at least one, if not several, obesity-related health conditions or serious complications, that contribute to physical disability or death.

Morbid obesity is considered a serious disease by the "National Institutes of Health Consensus Report" and by most health experts and physicians. As a chronic disease, the symptoms build slowly over time resulting in a declining quality of life and a need for ongoing, lifelong treatment.

Effects of Morbid Obesity

The list of side effects due to obesity is a long one and includes both physical and emotional repercussions. Some of the most serious include:

High Blood Pressure

Extra fatty tissue within the body requires nutrients and oxygen in order to live which forces the blood vessels to circulate additional blood to the fat tissue.

This makes the heart work harder and causes more pressure on the walls of the arteries which in turn increases blood pressure. The body may struggle to transport blood through the vessels properly as the heart rate raises due to working so hard.


Obesity is the main cause of type 2 diabetes. Though type 2 diabetes usually begins in adulthood, it's become more and more common in children. Obesity causes a resistance to insulin which elevates blood sugar levels in the body.

Even moderate obesity greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes.


An increased risk of cancer can be traced toward obesity and morbid obesity. This includes breast, colon, and uterus cancer to name a few.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which people stop breathing for brief periods while they're asleep. Respiratory problems are common among the obese which restricts breathing. Sleep apnea and high blood pressure often go hand in hand.

Morbid Obesity Treatment Options

The key to overall health always has been, and always will be proper diet and regular exercise. Those who implement proper eating habits and exercise into their daily lives will rarely struggle with obesity.

For treating morbid obesity, however, even the most determined people can find themselves frustrated with slow and minimal results. Because of the severity of morbid obesity, many patients find that their only real option is medical intervention in the form of weight loss surgery.

Schedule A Consultation

The first step toward weight loss surgery is to understand which surgical treatments are available and which method would be best for you.

Give us a call today to set up a consultation.