Does Obesity Cause Heart Diseases?

Doctors have suspected for a long time that obesity increases the risk of developing heart failure. They also believed that heart failure resulting from Diabetes, high Blood Pressure and Coronary Artery disease is associated with Obesity. However, recent studies proved that obesity itself could cause heart failure. They also proved that even excess body weight substantially increases the risk of heart failure. This emphasizes the way in which obesity and heart disease are inter-related.

It was found that those who were merely overweight had a risk of developing heart failure, that was 34% greater than in non-overweight individuals. And, those who were obese had an incredible 104% increase in the risk. Even if you’re entirely healthy person otherwise, obesity still places you at a risk of developing heart failure. These research findings say that there is a need to lose weight to avoid the risk of heart failure.

It is a proven fact that obesity can cause left ventricular hypertrophy [LVH], thickening of the wall of the heart’s left ventricle. Longstanding LVH can eventually cause heart failure. Obesity is also associated with metabolic syndrome X, a metabolic disorder that can cause serious lipid abnormalities.

Treatment Options

  • In patients with congestive heart failure, sodium restriction and small reductions in weight may improve ventricular function and oxygenation.
  • Several studies suggest that the more extensive weight reduction that follows gastrointestinal surgery for obesity reduces cardiovascular mortality. In persons with non–insulin-dependent diabetes it reduces both cardiovascular and total mortality.
  • Already many studies demonstrated the beneficial effects of weight reduction on cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and dyslipidemia. Recent studies have shown that the major reduction of body weight that follows gastrointestinal surgery for obesity also reduces incidence of non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
  • Shortening of the QT interval also follows weight reduction.
  • Treatment of obesity should be based on its severity and the presence of comorbidities, for example congestive heart failure, dyslipidemia, hypertension, non–insulin dependent diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Maintaining a BMI 25 throughout adult life is recommended. For most patients with a BMI between 25 and 30, lifestyle modifications including diet and exercise are suggested.
  • Calorie intake should be regulated. Research findings suggest that obese patients who have slower rates of weight reduction have the same long-term outcomes as patients undergoing more rapid weight reduction.
  • Restricting consumption of fat to 30% of total calories should also be prescribed because low-fat diets may also promote weight reduction. When rapid weight loss is needed in cases like severe biventricular heart failure, more severe caloric restriction of 800 calories daily with at least 0.75 g/kg bioavailable protein can be followed. For less-urgent weight reduction, a loss of 0.45 kg (1 lb) per week is reasonable. This rate of weight loss would require a caloric deficit of about 400 calories per day.
  • Simply changing daily routines, for example parking farther away and using the stairs rather than the elevator, may also be effective. Once weight loss has been achieved, a more vigorous exercise program may also enhance maintenance of reduction in weight.

How Obesity Causes Heart Problems ?

Cholesterol is an unique type of fat. The fat cells have an unique feature. They do not multiply generally like other cells of the body until there is a shortage of these cells. Instead, they grow larger in their size by accumulating large number of fat molecules within them. Heart supplies oxygen rich blood to the entire body. It has tube like structures called arteries and veins. When the presence of cholesterol raises in the blood, the fat cells reach the heart and make the surface area of the arteries and veins narrow.

As a result, the flow of blood to and from the heart decreases. The organ works harder to pump oxygen rich blood to the entire body and gets tired. This can lead to a fatal condition called heart attack. Intake of low cholesterol food and regular exercise brings back the the efficiency of heart in pumping blood to normalcy. This reduces the risk of heart failure.