Morbid Obesity: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

December 19, 2022

Morbid obesity: causes, symptoms, and treatment; everything is available and waiting for you now. Obesity, as you know, is a chronic, non-communicable disease with unavoidable consequences. Moreover, the adult obesity rate in the United States now exceeds 40%, the highest ever recorded. COVID-19-related food insecurity puts more Americans at risk of obesity or worsening it. It’s time to care for yourself and say goodbye to the high prevalence of that illness. Liftyolife ( is not strange for you; we are here to bring you good health.

1. What is morbid obesity (known as class III obesity)?

Morbid obesity is a serious health condition caused by an abnormally high body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 kg/m2, a BMI greater than 35 kg/m2 with at least one obesity-related severe condition, or being more than 100 pounds over ideal body weight (IBW).

Moreover, obesity is a severe illness that can disrupt daily life, including essential physical functions like breathing and walking. Obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), high blood pressure, and joint pain.

Overweight and obesity diseases are classified as increasing BMI levels with increasing health consequences. Obesity levels based on BMI are as follows:

  • Overweight: BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2
  • Obesity Class I: BMI 30.0-34.9 kg/m2
  • Obesity Class II: BMI 35.0-39.9 kg/m2
  • Obesity Class III: BMI 40.0 kg/m2

If you have a BMI of 35 or higher and obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be considered morbidly obese.

2. Why was class III obesity called morbid obesity?

The issue is that “morbid” has a second meaning, like many words. Outside of the medical context, “morbid” refers to something disturbing or unpleasant. Because most people are unfamiliar with the medical definition, they connected morbid (class III) obesity and people with obesity to those negative words. The term “morbid” to describe obesity contributes to the false and problematic societal stigma that those who are with obesity lack the willpower to lose weight, which is almost always wrong.

In place of “morbid obesity,” healthcare providers, researchers, and health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) now use the term “class III obesity.”

Why was class III obesity called morbid obesity?

Why was class III obesity called morbid obesity?

3. Risk factors

Here are some risk factors, let’s bear in mind now:

  • Socioeconomic factors can hamper access to fresh food and exercise.
  • Energy levels can be influenced by a person’s dietary habits and activity level.
  • Family history may play a role via both genetic and environmental factors.
  • Genetic factors.
  • Obesity is linked to several medical conditions, including Cushing’s syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Stress and anxiety can raise cortisol levels, leading to fat storage and weight gain.

4. What causes morbid obesity?

The root causes of severe obesity are still unknown. Obesity is caused by various factors, including genetic, hereditary, environmental, metabolic, and eating disorders. Certain medical conditions, such as steroid use and hypothyroidism, can also lead to obesity.

  • Socioeconomic and geographic factors: Having a low socioeconomic status and having easier financial and geographical access to unhealthy fast foods versus healthier whole foods can contribute to obesity development.
  • Cultural factors: Popular marketing and advertising for calorie-dense foods and increased portion sizes can all contribute to obesity development.
  • Environmental factors: Chemicals known as obesogens can alter your hormones and cause an increase in fatty tissue in your body.
  • Genetic factors: Obesity can run in families, and multiple genes are linked to weight gain.
  • Hormone imbalances: Many hormones can influence how your body signals the need for food and how it uses energy. Stress can increase your cortisol levels and your appetite and cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods, which can lead to weight gain.

5. Symptoms and signs of Morbid Obesity

Class III obesity does not have any distinct symptoms. Class III obesity is defined by a BMI of 40 or higher or an unhealthy body fat distribution as measured by your waist circumference and skin thickness by healthcare providers. Class III obesity can result in various side effects and complications throughout your body. Here are some most common symptoms of obesity: (1)

  • Tiredness.
  • Sweating.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Joint and back pain.
  • Sleep issues, including snoring.
  • Difficulty with physical activity.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Low confidence and feelings of isolation.
  • Other metabolic syndrome symptoms.
Symptoms and signs

Symptoms and signs

Severe obesity symptoms include:

  • A large accumulation of fat around the body.
  • BMI of 40 or higher.
  • Signs of complications, such as hypertension.

6. Complications of morbid obesity

Obesity in Class III is a severe medical condition that can contribute to the development of many health problems, including (2):

  • Types 2 diabetes: Excess fat storage can result in insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes.
  • The metabolic syndrome
  • Heart disease: Prolonged obesity exposure leads to cardiac (heart) function deterioration and heart disease.
  • Atherosclerosis: The buildup of plaque inside your arteries.
  • Cancer: Obesity is linked to an increased risk of 13 different types of cancer.
  • High blood pressure: Obese people are 3.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Breathing difficulties: Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is a breathing disorder that affects some obese people.
  • Depression: Obesity affects approximately 43% of adults with depression, and people who are obese have a 55% higher lifetime risk of developing depression than people who are not obese.
  • Osteoarthritis: Excess weight puts extra strain on your joints, mainly your knees.

7. Diagnosing morbid obesity

Diagnosing morbid obesity

Diagnosing morbid obesity

7.1. Calculating body fat percentage

Although “obesity” is defined as excessive adiposity, there has never been a formal attempt in clinical practice to diagnose obesity based on direct or indirect measurements of body fat. Moreover, there is no agreement on what percentage of body fat is normal or abnormal. Researchers define excess adiposity as having more than 30 or 35% body fat for women and more than 20 or 25% for men.

7.2. Calculating BMI

The BMI is the most basic and widely used method. BMI can be easily calculated by doctors using the heights and weights collected at each checkup, or you can use BMI tables and online calculators to determine what’s yours.

7.3. Other tests

  • Kidney (renal) function tests.
  • Basic metabolic panel.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test.
  • Complete blood count.
  • Lipid panel.
  • Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C).
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) test.
  • Urinalysis.
  • Vitamin D levels test.
  • Liver function tests.

8. Treating morbid obesity

8.1. Weight loss drugs

Weight loss medications work by affecting the brain or the gastrointestinal tract:

  • Your gastrointestinal tract: The medication orlistat prevents your intestines from absorbing fat from the foods you eat.
  • Your brain: Several medications alter how your brain regulates the desire to eat, which can aid in weight loss. Diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, lorcaserin, naltrexone/bupropion, and liraglutide are among the medications in this class.

Weight-loss medications should not be used solely for class III obesity. They have different side effects, as do all drugs, and some should not be taken if you have certain conditions or are taking other medications. You and your doctor will decide if weight loss medication is proper for you.

8.2. Diet and exercise

Lifestyle changes help you manage obesity, improve overall health, and lose weight.

  • Physical activity has numerous health benefits. It is a critical factor in determining whether a person can maintain healthy body weight, lose excess body weight, or keep healthy weight loss.
  • Meet with a registered dietician or nutritionist to learn which foods and amounts of food are part of a heart-healthy eating pattern.
  • Stress management: Because chronic stress can contribute to weight gain, it is critical to learn to deal with it in a healthy way, such as through meditation or breathing exercises, and reduce it as much as possible.
  • Healthy sleep: If you’re not getting enough sleep or have a sleep disorder, it’s critical to get back on track or receive treatment for sleep disorders to manage your obesity.

8.3. Surgery

If lifestyle changes and weight loss medications aren’t working for you, and you have class III obesity, you may be eligible for one of the following surgeries:

  • Gastrectomy: In this procedure, a surgeon removes a large portion of your stomach, allowing you to feel full with less food.
  • Gastric bypass surgery will make you feel fuller with less food while limiting the amount of food your body can absorb and store as fat.
  • Gastric banding: In this procedure, a surgeon wraps a hollow band around the upper portion of your stomach, resulting in a smaller stomach. This will make you feel full while eating less.
  • Surgical weight loss procedures have both risks and benefits. Discuss potential side effects and complications with your healthcare provider before deciding.

9. Preventing morbid obesity

Dietary suggestions may include:

  • Set a goal for achieving a healthy personal weight based on your gender, height, and health conditions.
  • Consume many fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a heart-healthy diet.
  • Prioritize whole or unprocessed foods.
  • Avoid trans and saturated fats in favor of healthy fats derived from safflower or corn oils.
  • Limit your consumption of sugar and sweetened foods.
  • Caloric intake should be monitored, and if a healthcare professional recommends it, a smaller plate should be used.
  • Only eat at regular times and eat more slowly.
  • Stress management.
  • Get a sufficient amount of sleep.
  • Avoid triggers and habits leading to overeating.

Being physically active and exercising: Recommend adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, if possible. It could entail 10-minute sessions several times per day, most days of the week.

These recommendations will be adjusted to your specific health and situation. Set healthy and attainable goals with your healthcare provider or a registered dietician.

Morbid obesity is a severe medical condition resulting in complications and a lower quality of life. We understand that trying to lose weight and change one’s lifestyle can be intimidating and challenging. The good news is that your doctor can tailor various treatment options to you and your specific health needs and objectives. Bear in mind that Liftyolife ( is here to help you achieve your health objectives.

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