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10 Warning Signs of Being Overweight

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Apr 20, 2022

    10 Warning Signs of Being Overweight

    What are the signs of being overweight? Being overweight is one of the common problems in the world. This condition puts people at a higher risk of turning obese and thereby developing some serious diseases like:

    • High blood pressure
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Cancer

    However, you are likely to see some warning signs of being overweight before it affects your body entirely and you reach the obesity phase.

    Implications of Being Overweight

    These warning signs can also be an indication of the risks of other health complications. The health risks of being overweight are considered very serious and life-threatening. Hence, it is necessary to know the warning signs of being overweight and take the right action. It is advisable to maintain your body weight and ensure you prevent excess accumulation of fat in the body.

    You can always use a body mass index (BMI) calculator available online to check your BMI. Typically, the BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight and a 30 or higher is considered obese.

    Before looking at the warning signs of being overweight, let’s take a look at the causes of being overweight or eventually obese.

    Causes of Being Overweight

    When you consume more calories than you burn for a prolonged period, the calories build up. This can cause excess weight gain and eventually obesity. 

    Some common causes of being overweight or obese include the following:

  • Post-Pregnancy (post-pregnancy weight can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity)
  • Inadequate sleep or insomnia can lead to hormonal changes that lead to feeling hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods
  • Aging can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight
  • Genetics, which can affect how your body processes food into energy and how fat is stored
  • Faulty dietary habits
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Apart from these, there are certain health conditions that may lead to weight gain like:

    • Cushing Syndrome
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Prader-Willi Syndrome
    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
    • Osteoarthritis

    Warning Signs of Being Overweight

    You are likely to see these signs of being overweight when your BMI increases than the normal value or if you begin gaining excess weight.

    Knee Pain

    Knee pain or aching knees is one of the common signs of being overweight. Excess weight puts excess pressure on your joints like knees and ankles, making them stiff and painful. Not only knees and ankles, but it can also put pressure on your hips, making it difficult to walk and perform other activities.

    While knee pain can occur due to other causes as well, being overweight can add to the existing problems. Hence, it is considered as one of the warning signs of being overweight. It is important to check with your doctor for knee pain and maintain your weight.

    Back Pain

    Being overweight can also put pressure on your spine, which can cause back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing cervical and lumbar spondylosis, vertebrae fracture, and spinal stenosis. All these conditions often present with neck pain, back pain, pain in the back of the legs, and sometimes numbness in the limbs.

    If you have back pain, you should seek orthopaedic help for proper evaluation and treatment of back pain. 


    If you snore, know that it can be one of the signs of being overweight. An increasing weight increases the risks of obstructive sleep apnea due to excess fat around the neck. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder when breathing starts and stops during sleeping. Poor muscle tone and fatty tissues can contribute to snoring. Ensure you have a healthy diet and work out daily.

    Seek your doctor’s advice for your concerns about snoring and plan ways to reduce your weight.

    Irregular Menstrual Cycle

    Irregular periods are one of the common signs in women who are overweight. Being overweight or obese can also increase bleeding or cause an absence of a menstrual cycle or prolong a period cycle. Excess fat in the body can disturb the balance of hormones in your body, causing several health conditions related to periods and female hormones.

    Breathing Issues or Dyspnea

    Breathing issues are a common warning sign in overweight people. If you are overweight or obese, you may find uncomfortable after exertion. Excess fat around the neck, chest, and abdomen can make it challenging for you to take up physical tasks and can result in shortness of breath or dyspnea. It  can make it difficult for you to breathe.

    If you experience shortness of breath, know it is one of the warning signs of being overweight. Get medical help immediately.

    High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

    High blood pressure can be one of the major signs of being overweight. If you are overweight, you are at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease due to high blood pressure.

    If you have high blood pressure, make sure you keep a watch on your weight and seek medical advice to lose weight and maintain blood pressure.

    Skin Issues

    Skin issues, delayed healing, recurrent skin infections may be one of the signs of being overweight. Excess fat in and around certain areas leads to retaining moisture in skin folds and the groin, making it more prone to skin problems and infections. Hormonal changes due to being overweight may cause velvety and darkened areas around the neck and body joints, which is called acanthosis nigricans.

    If you note, stretch marks on your skin, calluses, and corns on the feet or experience repeated skin infections, you may have to check and control your weight.


    Acid reflux and heartburn are also one of the common warning signs of being overweight. Also, you might feel pressure on your chest area, burning sensation, and pain around the throat area. This is mostly because excess body fat puts excess pressure on your digestive system, pushing your food towards the esophagus. This causes discomfort and acid reflux in your digestive system.

    If you experience such things, know these can be symptoms of being overweight.

    Varicose Veins

    These are dilated blood vessels that are caused by the weakening of the vessel wall. Varicose veins are very common in women, especially overweight women, and most commonly found on legs. If you find blue-ish or purple-ish veins around your body, especially legs, they are varicose veins. Having varicose veins is one of the warning signs of being overweight, hence best to get a medical evaluation done and manage weight.


    Depression or low self-esteem is one of the important warning signs of being overweight. Obese people are more prone to anxiety and stress due to various reasons ranging from embarrassment to body-shaming. Sometimes overweight people avoid social gatherings and events. These things can make them feel more depressed. If you experience these symptoms, it could be because of being overweight; seek medical help. 

    Therefore, ensure you maintain your health and work out regularly to manage your weight. Also, ensure you interact with people and try to be socially active.

    When to see your doctor?

    If you feel you are gaining weight excessively, sometimes without any reason, you should take medical help. Gaining excess weight suddenly can be due to an underlying health condition.

    However, if your body weight is already above normal BMI, you can take help from your doctor. Discuss weight loss techniques with your doctor along with proper diet and food to avoid. Ensure you work regularly to burn unwanted fat and maintain your normal weight.

    If you are overweight and experiencing any warning signs, inform your doctor immediately and seek medical help. Some signs can be serious and may also indicate other health problems, hence you need to get the treatment at the earliest.

    Talk to your doctor to get expert advice on a suitable diet and workout regimes and overall process to fight against obesity.

    Learn more about Diet and Weight Loss here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Apr 20, 2022

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