How Obesity Can Affect Your Heart?


If you are above the ideal body weight and worried about the health, you are not alone. In the year 2010, there were more than 78 million adults in the US adult population is either obese or overweight. Obesity is related to various health problems such as several forms of heart diseases, arthritis, cancer, lung diseases and gallbladder disease. People with obesity tend to have worse quality of life and diet at younger ages than compared to those having an ideal body weight.


What Is My Ideal Body Weight?

The ideal body weight is calculated based on your height. Your physician will use the BMI to see whether you are obese or overweight. You can calculate your BMI using simple formula: BMI= weight (in kgs) / height2 ( in meters).

An ideal BMI is between 18.5 to 25 while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 will put you in overweight category and 30 or more BMI will put you in the obese category. Among people with obesity, there are subclasses with a BMI of 35 or more being classified as severe obesity and BMI of 40 or greater as extreme obesity. This is significant since not all obesity carries the same health implications. As per studies, the more obese you are the greater your risk for poor health and the longer you remain obese, the greater chance of developing the obesity-related health problems.

How Does Obesity Affect My Heart Health?

Obesity can lead to many disease and also affect the heart health. People with obesity tend to have higher levels of bad cholesterol, higher blood pressure and lower levels of good cholesterol. All these factors are known risk for the heart diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.

Even if you do not have these risk factors, your heart may still suffer. People with severe obesity are four times at more risk to develop heart failure than those with ideal body weight. There is a link between obesity and heart health even after accounting the risk factors which means if you are obese, you are at higher risk for heart failure even if you do not have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Wait! Heart Failure?

The heart failure is a growing health problem in the US and worldwide with people suffering from shortness of breath and unable to perform their daily activities. They tend to accumulate excessive fluid in their bodies leading the swelling around the ankles.

Heart failure is a serious condition which impairs the quality of life as well as threatens it. Around 50% of people diagnosed with heart failure will die within the next five years. Obesity leads to heart failure in many ways. More body fat leads to higher blood volume that turns your heart to work harder to pump all the extra liquid. Over the years, this will cause harmful changes in the structure and function of the heart eventually leading to heart failure.

Fat tissue in the abdomen produces a number of toxic, inflammatory substances such as cytokines and adipokine which damages the heart muscle. Even obese people without any obvious signs of heart disease may have chronic damage to their heart muscle.

OK, This Is Bad. But What Can I Do? Losing Weight Is So Hard!

Losing weight is so hard, but here are few encouraging facts to do it:

  • Any weight loss is beneficial
  • Be active
  • There are a variety of weight loss resources that are available to you from the nutritional counseling to the group interventions

Obesity is very common in your society and you are not alone. It can lead to many health problems that can impair the quality of life and make you more likely to die at a younger age. It increases the risks of heart failure. Any sustained weight loss is helpful and you can ask your doctor about the various resources available to help.


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