Analyzing aspects of Obesity


The article on obesity did not really change my attitude towards individuals who are obese; however, it added more emphasis on what I suspected to be true. Weight is a metabolic problem, and possibly a hormonal, endocrine system problem which an individual inherits. Hormones are critical in the way a person’s metabolism functions. Balancing your hormones is a step towards the weight loss pathway (Zammit, Helen, Ian and Himender 336). A person with an inherited metabolic disorder has a defective gene that causes enzyme deficiency. In the article, although many contestants regained weight because their bodies failed to fight back against weight gain, it is important to know that obesity is a problem caused by the interaction of hereditary and environmental factors. Various forms of obesity tend to concentrate within a family. A person from a family with a history of obesity is two to eight times riskier to suffer from obesity compare to one with no family history of obesity.

Negative Effect of Obesity on Organ System

Research on the population of the United States shows that approximately 17 percent of children and 34 percent of adults are obese (Sikka, Shawn and James 580). Besides, these patients are at higher risk of reduced life expectancy. Similarly, individuals who are obese compared to those with a healthy weight, are more likely to suffer from health conditions that include sleeping apnea, breathing problems, osteoarthritis, and coronary heart disease. The paper will examine the effect of obesity on three organ systems that include the circulatory system/cardiac system, skeletal system, and the respiratory system.

Circulatory System/Cardiac System

Obesity is associated with many cardiovascular complications. Changes as a result of obesity portray an increase in the production of carbon dioxide and myocardial oxygen demand (Sikka, Shawn and James 587). Additionally, the changes due to obesity amount to an increase in diabolic filling pressures and ventricular dysfunction. Obesity affects the circulatory system since it results in greater stress on the heart (Joyner and Daniel 5552). A body with excess fat tissue would require enough oxygen to function well and stay alive. Thus the heart of a person recruits more blood vessels to supply the tissue with blood rich in oxygen. The buildup of cholesterol in arteries makes it hard to supply blood to the body (Sikka, Shawn and James 587). Moreover, the arteries will become harder as more fat continue to accumulate inside the arteries. Due to thicker walls, blood will have narrower space to pass through; therefore, the heart will have to work harder and pump blood faster to maintain the same pressure.

Congestive heart failure is complication caused by severe obesity. Type 2 diabetes and hypertension have a positive correlation with increasing weight, and their existence boosts the development of congestive heart failure. Due to excess weight, the left ventricular mass may be acquired beyond the anticipated normal growth (Sikka, Shawn and James 588). Moreover, obesity alters the cardiac structure and function even in a situation when one does not have systemic hypertension. Increase in the volume of blood and cardiac output cause eccentric hypertrophy and ventricular dilatation (Sikka, Shawn and James 588). Another effect is that systolic dysfunction due to expansion in ventricular wall stress and diastolic dysfunction due to eccentric hypertrophy lead to obesity cardiomyopathy. Patients suffering from cardiomyopathy of obesity tend to have anomalous fatty infiltration of the myocardium. Similarly, patients demonstrate uncontrolled epicardial fat deposition leading to defects in the cardiac.

Due to the high rate of the right ventricular dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, obese individuals are more likely to develop biventricular failure. As an independent risk factor, obesity causes coronary artery disease. The disease is more prevalent due to the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries that supply blood to the heart (Joyner and Daniel 5553). The coronary artery disease may also cause myocardial infarction. Fatty deposits narrow arteries and reduce the flow of blood to the heart leading to heart attack or chest pain. Besides, it is possible for blood to clot in the narrowed arteries and this will result in a stroke.

Skeletal System

Obesity adversely affects the skeletal system since the bones and joints of a person may not be ready to hold the excess weight of an obese individual. Extra fat due to obesity increase the risk of joint strain (Tomlinson, et al 468). In particular, obesity increases osteoarthritis of the knees. Regarding joint and spinal problems, obese individuals have difficulty climbing stairs, running and squatting. With a biomechanical explanation, the force between the patella and its articulation with the other parts of the knee is approximately three times the weight of the body with walking (Tomlinson, et al 471). In a situation when you perform other activities such as running, the forces can reach six to ten times the body weight. When a 200-pound person walks, the force on the knee is 600 pounds, and when they are squatting or climbing, the force reaches about 1200 to 2000 pounds (Tomlinson, et al 471). When you multiply the force by the number of years an individual is obese, you get excessive wear and thus arthritis.

Individuals who are significantly overweight are at higher risk of degenerating diseases that affect their knee joints. Weight exerts pressure on connecting tissues found in joints. For instance, tendons connect muscles to bones. Due to overweight, joints experience extra pressure causing tendons to become inflamed hence resulting in tendonitis. A person with tendonitis will have swelling, redness, and pain around the joints.

Additionally, obese individuals have problems with their spinal mechanics. For instance, truncal obesity with a panniculus results in an anterior bending force and a comprehensive force on the spine (Sikka, Shawn and James 588). This could lead to disc pathology and back pain. Similarly, due to excessive body mass and wear of the spine, a person may develop conditions such as a trapped sciatic nerve. Obesity can increase the risk of disability due to musculoskeletal conditions. Another effect of obesity is that it affects the hip joint. In post-menopausal women, obesity can cause fracture of the femur.

Respiratory System

Obesity affects the pulmonary physiology of a person by causing significant changes. When adipose tissue in the abdomen and thorax increase, it decreases chest wall and lung compliance (Sikka, Shawn and James 588). The respiratory system of a person in such a condition will have decreased expiratory reserve volume, and functional residual capacity and vital capacity. In a supine position, the decrease in expiratory reserve volume is higher (Sikka, Shawn and James 588). Besides, this is the point where the functional residual capacity approximates the residual volume. The outcome of this is that the obese patient are more likely to experience gas trapping, quick oxygen desaturation, and ventilation-perfusion mismatch. Cytokines due to a low-grade inflammatory state may also hinder the functioning of the lungs.

The common respiratory diseases linked to obesity include obstructive sleep apnea and asthma (Zammit, Helen, Ian and Himender 336). With obstructive sleep apnea, the health condition entails partial, periodic or absolute block of the upper respiratory caused by the efforts of the respiratory system against a closed glottis when one is sleeping. The stopping of the flow of air takes at least 10 seconds or more. A person has a floppy airway, and the profound relaxation of the muscles when one is sleeping worsen the syndromes. Most individuals suffering from sleep apnea have a body mass index of less than 30 (Marcus, Aravind, Carolina and John 2). Individuals who snore and have large neck girth are highly predictive of the disease. Research shows that men whose neck girth is 17 inches or more and women whose neck girth is 16 inches or more are more likely to contact sleep apnea (Marcus, Aravind, Carolina and John 4). Extreme obesity and alveolar hypoventilation in the course of wakefulness defines obesity hypoventilation syndrome (Zammit, Helen, Ian and Himender 338). In this situation, patients develop hypersomnolence with resulting polycythemia and cyanosis leading to pulmonary hypertension. The occurrence of pulmonary hypertension causes the failure of right ventricular and peripheral edema.


The impact of obesity is in every aspect of health including causing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, shortening of life and destructing social interactions, breathing and sexual function. My desire as I pursue my master’s degree in exercise and nutrition is to change the negative perception of people towards obesity and make them understand that extreme dieting does not work and is a temporary fix to the problem. Although obesity is not a permanent health condition, people should know that it is much harder for one to lose weight compared to gaining. In my case, I consider dieting as a way of life that entails ensuring you have the most functional body. One can facilitate caloric reduction and achieve weight loss by reducing both dietary fat and dietary carbohydrates. Additionally, physical activity plays a critical role in weight loss therapy and maintenance since it may reduce abdominal fat, maintain weight loss and increase cardiorespiratory fitness.


Works Cited

Joyner, Michael J., and Daniel J. Green. “Exercise protects the cardiovascular system: effects beyond traditional risk factors.” The Journal of physiology 587.23 (2009): 5551-5558.

Marcus, Jonathan A., Aravind Pothineni, Carolina Z. Marcus, and John D. Bisognano. “The role of obesity and obstructive sleep apnea in the pathogenesis and treatment of resistant hypertension.” Current hypertension reports 16.1 (2014): 1-8.

Sikka, Paul, Shawn T. Beaman, and James A. Street. Basic Clinical Anesthesia. New York: Springer, 2015. Print.

Tomlinson, D. J., et al. “The impact of obesity on skeletal muscle strength and structure through adolescence to old age.” Biogerontology 17.3 (2016): 467-483.

Zammit, Christopher, Helen Liddicoat, Ian Moonsie, and Himender Makker. “Obesity and respiratory diseases.” Int J Gen Med 3.3 (2010): 335-343.

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