4 Major Health Risks Associated With Obesity (and Low T)

If you’re having trouble losing weight, it might be time to talk with your medical provider. Although it can be an uncomfortable conversation, obesity increases the risks of a number of serious health conditions that could compromise your quality of life, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular events (heart attacks and strokes)
  • Cancer 
  • Osteoarthritis
A man has pulled his white t-shirt up to reveal his belly, which slightly protrudes over his jeans and brown belt. He is measuring his waist and perhaps is concerned about his obesity risk.

Obesity Risk 1: Type 2 Diabetes

The Cleveland Clinic has an excellent explanation of how obesity increases the likelihood that you’ll develop diabetes—the condition where too much sugar (glucose) circulates through your bloodstream. 

Your pancreas regulates blood sugar by producing insulin. This hormone moves glucose out of your blood and into your cells to be utilized as energy or to the liver, where it’s transformed into stored energy in the form of  glycogen or fatty acids.

A diabetic’s cells resist insulin. The body is then overloaded with glucose.  The excess sugar remains in the bloodstream, which signals your pancreas to create even more insulin to cope with the overload. The pancreas begins to wear out, and diabetes quickly worsens. Additionally, the excess glucose begins to have toxic effects on tissue, especially small blood vessels. 

According to the American Heart Association, at least 68 percent of people aged 65 or older with diabetes also suffer from cardiovascular disease.

Obesity Risk 2: Cardiovascular Disease

Here are 2 ways that obesity contributes to heart disease:

  1. Negative changes to your cholesterol levels—A spike in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels or a significant decrease in the beneficial high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, which removes cholesterol from the body and reduces the risk for heart disease. 
  2. Higher blood pressure—Obese individuals require a larger volume of blood to adequately supply the body with oxygen and nutrients. This increases the demand on the heart and can thereby raise blood pressure. 

High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke—more common among obese individuals compared to people with a healthier body mass index (BMI).

(Learn about the relationship between testosterone and cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes here.)

Obesity Risk 3: Cancer

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), obesity is linked with a higher risk of contracting many types of cancer:

These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year. The risk of cancer increases with the amount of weight a person gains and the longer a person remains overweight. Changes in the body caused by obesity increase the likelihood of developing cancer. These changes include:

  • Long-lasting inflammation
  • Higher than normal levels of insulin
  • Insulin-like growth factor
  • Sex hormones

Obesity Risk 4: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, damage to your joints caused by too much repeated stress, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the shock-absorbing cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down or degenerates over time—damage to the joints that is likely irreversible. 

According to the Mayo Clinic

“Carrying extra body weight contributes to osteoarthritis in several ways. The more you weigh, the greater your risk. Increased weight adds stress to weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. Also, fat tissue produces proteins that can cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.”

These experts support preventative measures that include keeping active and maintaining a healthy weight—lifestyle choices that could slow progression of the disease, help ease pain, and improve joint function.

(Read more about your hormones and joint pain here.)

Decreasing the Health Risks Associated With Obesity

If you’ve found yourself at risk due to weight control issues, the seemingly obvious solution is making significant lifestyle changes to decrease the strain those extra pounds and inches put on your body’s critical systems.

However, many men are unable to maintain the rigorous diet and exercise routine required to lose an amount of weight sufficient to impact their health situation, leaving them exactly where they started.

Many other men find themselves unable to drop any significant weight no matter how rigorously they stick to a better diet and fitness routine.

Luckily, there’s a much better answer.

Overcoming Difficulties With Weight Loss: Restoring Testosterone Levels

There is a wealth of scientific evidence negatively correlating obesity with low testosterone levels and the symptoms of low testosterone.

Researchers examined the association between body fat distribution and testosterone levels (both free and total) among middle-aged and elderly men.

Over 900 males between 40 and 70 years old participated in this study. Their waist circumference (WC), waist-height ratio (WHtR), body mass index (BMI), were compared to their total and free testosterone levels. 

General and abdominal obesity were closely connected with total testosterone deficiency. Abdominal obesity also was found to be associated with free testosterone deficiency.

Restoring testosterone levels through Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) often aids the body in reducing fat production and increasing lean muscle mass in its place.

TRT is a safe medical treatment that restores and maintains patients’ hormone levels, thereby decreasing health risks associated with obesity. Learn more about TRT in our all-inclusive guide, which provides facts and answers to the most common questions regarding the treatment of low testosterone.

Read the Guide


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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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