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The Complications of Obesity: Sick Fat Syndrome and Inflammation

Obesity can lead to various diseases, and while most people are familiar with its impact on cardiovascular disease, its effects go far beyond that. It can hinder the normal functioning of fat cells, leading to Sick Fat Disease.

Excessive fat can also create a pathological (abnormal) physical force, causing Fat Mass Disease. These risks are not exclusive to people with obesity. If your BMI exceeds 23, you may already have a higher risk of developing these two types of diseases than the general population.

Fat Mass Disease

As the name suggests, it is related to the volume of fat. As the amount of fat increases, the pathological force can compress organs and other tissues, not only causing joints to bear more pressure but also subjecting tissues to pressure and friction. Over time, there is a chance of developing Fat Mass Disease. The following are common examples:

Cardiovascular disease: hypertension, heart failure
Neurological disease: nerve compression, stroke
Gastrointestinal disease: gastroesophageal reflux, small bowel gas
Sleep disorders: inadequate breathing, obstructive sleep apnea
Musculoskeletal: osteoarthritis
Skin disease: skin stretch marks, skin tags, abrasions

Sick Fat Disease and Inflammation

Excessive fat can cause two types of inflammation. The first is inflammation of fat cells themselves, and the second is inflammation in the body. Let’s first discuss inflammation of fat cells. When the body takes in too much energy, fat cells can over-expand, become hypoxic, or die due to pressure. During the process of clearing dead cells, inflammatory cells invade, affecting the normal immune and endocrine function of adipose tissue.

Now let’s discuss inflammation in the body. Obese individuals produce too many adipokines, low-molecular-weight, multifunctional active proteins that affect not only energy metabolism but also play a crucial role in inflammation and the immune system. For example, obese individuals are chronically in a low-grade inflammatory state, which is related to excessive adipokines. Whether it is inflammation of fat cells or inflammation in the body, there is a chance of developing Sick Fat Disease. If you want to learn more about Sick Fat Disease, you can refer to another article.