Comorbidities of obesity are diseases that develop because your health has been compromised by your weight. Excess weight may affect many other areas of your body including your heart, lungs, joints and even your eyes. Bariatric surgery not only helps with weight loss but can also address some of the comorbidities of obesity.

We’re outlining the medical conditions that bariatric surgery can improve because most insurance companies have determined you need at least two comorbidities to qualify for bariatric surgery, with some requiring more than two. Insurance companies want verification that your overall health is negatively affected by your weight and that you aren’t seeking bariatric surgery for cosmetic reasons. We understand how difficult the last sentence is to read – it was difficult for us to write.

Our team can work with your primary care physician or specialist to provide documentation about any comorbidities of obesity you may be experiencing. In the meantime, we’ve compiled this list for your information.

Comorbidities to Qualify for Bariatric Surgery


Arthritis is a general term referring to joint or bone disease. Symptoms may not always be present, and range from mild to severe swelling, stiffness, pain and a decreased range of motion. When arthritis is present, daily activities like walking or climbing stairs is difficult.

Sleep Apnea / Asthma

With sleep apnea, your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while sleeping, making it difficult to get rest. Obesity raises the risk of sleep apnea by a factor of four since excess weight may obstruct your upper airway. Asthma is when the bronchial tubes in your lungs become swollen and more narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Extra weight may cause you to breathe more shallowly, making your lungs more susceptible to inflammation.

High Blood Pressure / High Cholesterol

These symptoms affect your heart function. With high blood pressure, your heart pumps harder to circulate blood throughout your body. Cholesterol is a measure of fat in your blood and when it is too high, it can narrow the blood vessels in your body, contributing to high blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

When you eat, your body changes some of the food into glucose or sugar to provide you with energy. Your pancreas produces a hormone, insulin, to help your body absorb glucose. Excess weight creates stress on your system and can cause insulin resistance – your body isn’t able to absorb glucose, and you can develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Venous Stasis Disease

Also called venous insufficiency, this condition occurs when leg veins are not allowing blood to flow back to your heart. You may experience swelling in your legs or ankles, have pain or itchiness while walking and develop varicose veins.

Soft Tissue Infections

Excess weight also contributes to bacterial and fungal growth on your skin, which can lead to serious infections such as cellulitis.

Other Comorbidities of Obesity

The list below includes less frequently occurring conditions that may be considered comorbidities to qualify for bariatric surgery.

Congestive Heart Failure

With this chronic condition, your heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet your body’s needs. Since excess weight has been linked to heart disease, congestive heart failure can be a consequence.

Fatty Liver Syndrome

Too much fat in your liver can cause it to become inflamed and lose its ability to filter toxins from your blood over time.

Gallbladder Disease / GERD

Your gallbladder sits near your liver and helps you digest food. Too much fat in your system can create gallstones which can block the digestion process, causing pain and potential infection. GERD occurs when a muscle at the end of your esophagus doesn’t completely close, allowing stomach acid to come up and create a painful burning sensation. Extra weight puts more pressure on your stomach, contributing to GERD.

Depression / Psychosocial Stress

Loss of interest in life, combined with stress or anxiety when interacting with others can be a comorbidity of obesity.

Bariatric Surgery Oklahoma

As you consider bariatric surgery, our team at WeightWise can answer questions about comorbidities of obesity and how surgery can improve these conditions.

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