Heart Diseases and Weight Gain

Over half the population of America is believed to be overweight, despite that everyone claims to be striving towards size-zero. Apart from the absence of self-esteem that it creates, many are not even aware of the threats to their health. A few pounds above normal could increase the effort on the heart. It is high time we realize the danger and took measures to take care of our heart, and ourselves.

 

Defining Overweight and Obesity: It is difficult to precisely define what 'normal' weight is, but medical practitioners generally use a measure called Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if a person is heavier than normal. The upper BMI limit for a healthy individual is considered 25. A person, who weighs 175 pounds and is 5-foot 10-inches tall, has a BMI of 25. An extra 30 pounds would raise the BMI to 30, which signifies a serious weight issue. The BMI becomes 35 if the weight is 245 pounds, and that is considered extremely obese.

BMI Above 25 is Unhealthy: The Journal of the American Medical Association has published the results of a study involving 116,000 nurses, which shows that moderately overweight women having BMI of 25 through 28.9 were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease as slender women having BMI less than 21. The risk nearly quadrupled in the case of women with BMI above 29. Similarly, the findings of a study involving 29,000 middle aged men suggest that those with BMI between 25 and 29 were about 70% more prone to coronary heart disease than those with lesser BMI.

 

Relation Between Overweight and Heart Diseases: When the body is larger than normal, it requires a large amount of blood. It follows naturally that the heart needs to pump more blood that it would on a normal body. As the weight increases, instead of beating more frequently, the heart grows larger so that it can move more blood with each beat. This increased blood flow from the heart could lead to high blood pressure. High BP is one of the causes of heart diseases.

 

 

When the heart grows bigger and begins to pump more blood, the effort it takes also increases. The chambers of the heart grow larger and lose their squeezing power, resulting in their not being able to completely empty themselves. As a result, blood begins to collect in the heart and could lead to congestive heart failure.

 

Extra Fats and Heart Diseases: In addition, excess fat accumulating in the body triggers a series of other changes in the body that could also lead to heart disease. Expanding waistline increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Women with waist measurement more than 35 inches and men with more than 40 inches are vulnerable to it. The presence of belly fat obstructs the action of insulin and increases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, a condition that poses threat to the heart.

Extra fat in the body may imply extra fat in the blood, and could lead to increased levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. Too much cholesterol could induce the condition called atherosclerosis that again could lead to heart attack or stroke.

 

Gaining extra weight through fat filled food and lack of exercise can also cause damage to the arteries and weaken the heart. According to a study published in the European Heart Journal,

obesity alone, with its contribution to high blood pressure, excess cholesterol and glucose intolerance, could increase the risk of heart disease.

 



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