Obesity Symptoms - Understand the Common Signs Here

People today have greater access to high-caloric food items with low nutritional value. Combined with a sedentary lifestyle, these high-caloric foods have a snowball effect on the body, leading to obesity. Obesity does not just affect looks; it significantly affects health and can lead to several health conditions like heart attack and diabetes. 

Obesity has excess body fat that could result from several factors. These factors can risk a person's quality of life. It can be environmental, psychological, or hormonal. But what are the signs and symptoms of obesity? What are obesity causes? How to notice overweight symptoms and prevent them from becoming obese? Keep reading to find out!

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a long-term, complex disorder caused by several medical conditions, leading to excessive body fat and poor health. Body fat is not a disease, but excess body fat can negatively affect overall health. Excess body fat leads to changes in the body, which worsen over time, causing adverse health effects.

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Signs and Symptoms of Obesity

Early Symptoms of Obesity

The most visible obesity symptoms and signs are excess body fat and an increase in weight. A person may also experience other signs and symptoms of obesity, like:

  1. Difficulty in sleeping (daytime drowsiness, sleep apnoea)
  2. Joint pain
  3. Excessive sweating
  4. Shortness of breath 
  5. Infections in the skin folds
  6. Intolerance to heat
  7. Fatigue
  8. Depression
  9. Irregular menstrual cycles

Late Symptoms of Obesity

The late symptoms of obesity often occur due to the magnitude of weight gain; as a result, a person may notice the following:

  1. Swelling and varicose veins in the legs.
  2. Acanthosis nigricans: a skin condition characterised by hyperpigmentation and hyperkeratosis in the armpits and skin folds
  3. Stretch marks due to rupture of the skin's elastic fibres.
  4. High blood pressure.
  5. Body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m2
  6. Waist circumference: more than 88 cm in women; more than 94 cm in men. 

Doctors commonly measure BMI to define obesity. The BMI calculates the body weight against the body surface area. After calculating the BMI, doctors determine whether a person is healthy, overweight, or obese.

The doctors classify obesity into class types based on its severity. 

  1. Class I is low-risk obesity, with a BMI range from 30 to 34.9 kg/m2. 
  2. Class II is moderate-risk obesity, with a BMI range from 35 to 39.9 kg/m2. 
  3. Class III obesity, also called morbid obesity, is when a person starts experiencing obesity-related health problems. The BMI range for class III is 40 + kg/m2.

However, BMI has a few limitations, for example, in the case of athletes and bodybuilders, who have more muscles than fat. They may also have a high BMI but low body fat.

Body Mass Index table:

Body Mass Index (BMI) in kg/m2

Weight Status

18.5 to 24.9 Healthy

25 to 29.9

30 to <35

Class I obesity

35 to < 40 Class II obesity
40+ Class III obesity

Causes of Obesity

Now, we are all aware that obesity symptoms result from the excessive consumption of more calories than the body requires. Factors that lead to high-calorie consumption are:

  1. Fast and convenient food items: If a person frequently eats highly processed, packaged foods (sugary drinks, candies, etc.), it’s easier for them to consume excess calories. Such foods are high in fat and sugar and have lesser fibre and other nutrients. Such foods are cost-efficient and easily available and may have ingredients that promote addictive eating patterns.
  2. Sugar: All food items contain a small amount of sugar. Most products containing high amounts of sugar are sweetened beverages like colas and sweets with immense calories and no nutritional value.
  3. Hormones: Hormones are responsible for satiety and hunger signals. Several factors can disturb hormone levels and these processes, such as insufficient sleep, stress, genetic variations, etc. 
  4. Psychological Factors: Anxiety, depression, boredom, and loneliness may all lead to overeating. It may lead to a person having a certain type of food (candies, muffins, etc.) that activates pleasure centres in their brain and makes them feel better. These foods mostly have high calories.
  5. Medications: Certain medications taken to treat a medical condition may contribute to weight gain. Some medications that may cause weight gain are steroids, anti-epileptics, antidepressants, antidiabetics, and beta-blockers. 

Other factors that may contribute to obesity include:

  1. Sedentary lifestyle: Desk work with long hours consumes a majority of people’s time sitting, and this lack of activity leads to obesity.
  2. Screen culture: People spend most of their time on phones and laptops, neglecting physical activity.
  3. Fatigue: Sitting makes the body stiff and causes pain and aches that further discourages movement.
  4. Disability: Children and adults with physical and learning disabilities have high chances of obesity.

What are the Effects of Obesity on the Body?

The Direct Effects

Increased body fat can crowd the respiratory system’s organs and adds strain on the musculoskeletal system. This may contribute to the following:

  1. Gout
  2. Sleep apnoea
  3. Asthma
  4. Back pain
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome.

The Indirect Effects

Obesity is also linked indirectly with

  1. Female infertility 
  2. Complications of Pregnancy
  3. Depression and mood disorders
  4. Cognition and memory problems, including increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  5. Certain cancers, such as breast cancer, oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.

What are the Repercussions of Obesity on the Body?

Obesity symptoms affect the body in several ways. A few may include mechanical effects on the body (extra weight, too much pressure on the joints). In contrast, other symptoms of obesity are more subtle and appear over a long time, such as chemical changes in the body (increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke). 

Metabolic syndrome also called combined risk factors, is when several conditions group together, and they all tend to reinforce each other. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to obesity which may lead to several health diseases. These metabolic syndromes contribute to diseases like:

  1. Heart Disease: Obesity can lead to heart diseases like congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. These diseases may further aggravate due to the factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, and high blood sugar. 
  2. Type II Diabetes: Obesity specifically increases the risk of type II diabetes by 20% for every additional score you gain on the BMI scale.
  3. Fatty Liver Disease: Excess fats circulating in the blood may begin to deposit in the liver, leading to fatty liver diseases such as hepatitis (chronic liver inflammation) and liver cirrhosis (liver cell death).
  4. Kidney Disease: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other liver conditions may contribute to chronic kidney disease.
  5. Gallstones: High cholesterol levels can result in the accumulation of cholesterol in the gallbladder leading to cholesterol gallstones and gallbladder diseases. There are 7% more chances of getting gallbladder disease with an increase in BMI.
  6. Osteoarthritis: In obese people, the extra weight puts pressure on the muscles, joints, and bones, leading to bone and muscle-related issues such as osteoarthritis. 
  7. Obese asthma: A unique type of asthma that occurs in a few individuals with obesity. 
  8. Sleep apnea: The fat deposition around the tongue and neck may block the airways.
  9. Hiatal hernia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and heartburn: This may occur due to extra weight pushing on the valve that keeps the stomach content out of the oesophagus.  

When to see a Doctor?

Living with obesity is linked with various other health conditions. An obese person must consult the doctor immediately for the following conditions:

  1. Type II diabetes 
  2. Heart disease
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Osteoarthritis 
  5. Sleep apnea
  6. Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, etc.
  7. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). 

What you can expect on your first visit?

During your first visit with the doctor, you can expect the following things:

  1. The doctor may as your medical history, which will include your history of nutrition, exercise, and weight loss.
  2. Physical examination: assessing waist measurement, BMI, and other health risks.
  3. Examine any obesity-related issues with your health.
  4. Examine other medical issues that may cause weight gain.
  5. Assess if you need to undergo tests.
  6. Help you in making realistic weight loss goals.
  7. Advise you on the diet that would be best for you.
  8. Advise you on different types and duration of exercise.
  9. If you are overweight or obesity is affecting your mental health.
  10. Find out if you need weight reduction surgery or not.


Obesity disease symptoms may keep getting worse if not addressed at the right time. We all know that several health risks are linked to obesity, but the good news is that you can still prevent and improve your health status starting today. The risks are worth your attention, as they are manageable and reversible. 

Are you stuck on how to go about starting a healthy lifestyle? Or obesity symptoms and causes? Or a good workout plan? Or a tailored diet plan? Contact our care team at HexaHealth to get the best guidance. Our experts will help you throughout your journey of fighting obesity towards a healthier you. Of course, it will take some exploring to land on the right formula for you, but with HexaHealth, your journey may seem easy and achievable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of obesity?

Symptoms of obesity include weight gain, excess body fat, extra pressure on the joints causing pain, intolerance to heat, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, irregular menstrual cycles, infections in skin folds, fatigue, etc.

What illness causes obesity?

Hormonal imbalance conditions like PCOS, psychological factors (depression, anxiety), and disability may cause obesity.

What foods stop obesity?

Eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes that have fibre and micronutrients and are low in fat may help you prevent or manage obesity. 

What foods should an obese person avoid?

An obese person must avoid processed and packaged foods with excess sugar. These food items have high calories and no nutritional value.

How can obesity be treated?

Obesity can be treated with dietary changes, physical activity, medication (recommended by the doctor), behavioural therapies, and weight loss surgery. 

What are the three keys to preventing obesity?

The best way to prevent obesity is to add small activities to your daily routine, a healthy diet, and look over the entire health of the body.

What is the best fruit for weight loss?

The best fruits to manage a healthy weight are apples, bananas, oranges, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries.

Does drinking water help in weight loss?

Drinking water promotes weight loss as it plays a role in satiety and makes you less hungry. It also improves the metabolism, which may help you in losing weight.

Does lemon water help you lose weight?

Lemon water may help you lose weight as it helps digestion, prevents oxidation, and is weight-loss friendly. Squeeze half of a lemon into a glass of water to enjoy its weight loss benefits.

How can I lose weight fast without exercise?

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding fast and sugary foods may help you achieve your goals. However, doing a little exercise is necessary to stay fit and active. 

Can you lose weight by not eating?

Fasting for a certain number of hours daily may help burn body fat. However, it is recommended that you seek expert advice, as a doctor or nutritionist will diagnose your health status and recommend a treatment plan accordingly.

How much weight can you lose in a month?

If you are trying to lose weight, it is natural that you want faster results, but people with slow and steady weight loss of around 1 to 2 pounds per week are more likely to keep the weight off.

What is the best diet to follow?

The best diet is a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes with high fibre and micronutrients.

Will eating salad help me lose weight?

Salads containing vegetables and fruits have fibre content that may help you lose weight. Therefore, add a salad bowl to your diet to manage or prevent obesity. 

Which juice is good for weight loss at night?

Juices like orange juice, apple juice, lemon juice, etc., may help you lose weight. These can help you detoxify the body, aid digestion, and help you lose weight. However, juices offer less nutrition and often have high sugar, which may become difficult for the body to metabolise and end up being stored as fats. Therefore, consult a dietician before making any changes in your diet.

About the Author

Shivani Arora

BA Journalism and Mass Communication

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