Mandisa died from complications of class III obesity. Here’s what that means.

Grammy Award-winning singer and American idol The elder Mandisa died of Class III obesity, according to an autopsy report obtained by People. The 47-year-old was found dead by friends in her Franklin, Tennessee, home on April 18 and her manner of death was ruled natural.

Typically, obesity is not listed as a cause of death on a death certificate, Dr. Katherine Saunders, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-founder of Intellihealth, told Yahoo Life. However, “weight-related health complications” due to chronic disease are associated with “very significant morbidity and mortality,” she says.

THE World Health Organization (WHO) reports that a higher than optimal body mass index (BMI) “caused approximately 5 million deaths from noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, neurological disorders, chronic respiratory diseases and digestive disorders” in 2019.

Saunders says life-threatening complications related to obesity can also include heart attack, heart failure, sudden cardiac death, stroke and pulmonary embolism. And while Mandisa’s specific health condition at the time of her death is unclear, information in the autopsy lets examiners know it was likely related to her weight.

Obesity as a disease is divided into the following three classes, depending on Cleveland Clinic:

  • Class I obesity: BMI 30 to 34.9 kg/m²

  • Class II obesity: BMI 35 to 39.9 kg/m²

  • Class III obesity: BMI of 40 kg/m² or more

“In general, class III obesity is associated with a higher risk of morbidity and mortality than class I and II obesity,” says Saunders. However, an individual’s risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases like hypertension, stroke, and diabetes is usually determined by additional factors, with BMI considered an imperfect tool to indicate health status at only him.

Like any form of obesity, the disease is caused by an imbalance in the energy stored and used by the body. Genetics, hormonal imbalances, environment, and socioeconomic factors all play a role. A study shows that class III obesity disproportionately affects black women over the age of 40. However, there are ways to manage and treat it through lifestyle changes, behavioral and psychological therapy, medications, and surgery.

“Although obesity is increasingly recognized as a complex and heterogeneous chronic disease, many people do not realize how serious obesity is,” says Saunders. “Obesity is treatable, but it is massively undertreated. »

She attributes this to various barriers to care, like weight bias, which even impacts insurance coverage of comprehensive obesity care.

“Mandisa’s passing is a tragedy,” said Millicent Gorham, CEO of Alliance for Women’s Health and Prevention, tells Yahoo Life. “Unfortunately, obesity remains stigmatized, and this heartbreaking event highlights…

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