Obesity And Heart Disease – Abdominal obesity is more often associated with heart disease. Here are tips for obese people to lower their risk of heart disease.

Today, people eat more processed foods, which are high in calories, and do less physical activity. This is leading to a rise in obesity worldwide. At the same time, the number of people dying from heart disease is rising worldwide. Obesity is identified as a major risk factor for high blood pressure (hypertension) and type 2 diabetes, which can contribute to the development of heart disease.

In an exclusive interaction with the HealthSite, Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, sheds further light on the relationship between obesity and heart disease.

He says, “Obesity is when you have too much body fat, which can cause heart disease and other health issues. The waist-to-hip ratio, BMI, and waist circumference are used to examine obesity. Your chance of developing heart disease is based on the location where your body fat stores the accumulated. Truncal obesity, also known as abdominal obesity, is more linked to heart disease. But with improved lifestyle habits such as regular exercising, eating healthy and consuming required medications, you can keep your heart healthy.”

He also suggested tips for obese people on how they can reduce their risk of heart disease. Continue reading:

How are heart disease and obesity connected?

Obesity is generally caused by eating high calorie food and sedentary lifestyle. You are sitting or lying down for long hours, with very little to no exercise. Initially, it was believed that the extra fat in obesity was benign (less harmful). However, research shows that having too much fat increases your risk of heart disease by changing the chemical composition of your blood. Your fat cells release hormones that cause chronic inflammation when they grow.

This inflammation causes insulin resistance in your body. The insulin hormone helps in controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels. But when the body is insulin resistant, the blood sugar (glucose) cannot enter cells as readily, and it gets collected in the blood. This can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, a problem with blood sugar regulation in your body leads to various metabolic syndromes and you are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease, such as:

  • Elevated blood lipids (high LDL cholesterol, high total cholesterol and high triglycerides).
  • Elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia).
  • Minimal HDL levels.

Additionally, this extra accumulated or collected body fat might cause the following changes in your heart: atherosclerosis, expansion of the left atrium (swelling of the left side of your heart), and heart’s left ventricle expanding (LVH).

Your chance of having an irregular heartbeat is also increased by obesity (atrial fibrillation). This atrial fibrillation is also the root cause of blood clots that occur and may result in strokes. Obesity also raises the risk of developing sleep problems and diabetes type 2.

I’m obese, how can I lower my risk of heart disease?

Your risk factors for heart disease can be reduced by losing 5 per cent to 10 per cent of your body weight. Simple lifestyle adjustments can reduce metabolic syndrome, which lowers your chance of developing heart disease. These modifications include:

Exercise: Exercises that burn more than 150 calories per week is known to lower body fat and obesity in general. That translates to 40 minutes of exercise every day, seven days a week. You may keep motivated by engaging in enjoyable activities like vigorous walking, dancing, or swimming.

Changing your diet: Consuming fewer calories might help you lose belly fat. Altering your diet can also aid in weight loss and reduce obesity in general. Food habits with majority of vegetarian food in addition to moderate portions of dairy, eggs, fish, lean chicken, and shellfish, this diet consists mostly of plant-based foods such as fresh fruits, legumes, whole grains, root and green vegetables, and legume-based legumes.

Behavioural therapies: Attending a support group or finding a counsellor might inspire you to achieve your weight reduction aims. You may better understand how your ideas and emotions impact your behaviour with the help of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Medication: Prescription medications used to treat obesity can also help in weight loss.

Quitting smoking: Giving up smoking can lessen your chances of developing heart disease and dying from it.

Surgery for weight loss: Bariatric procedures can lower your chance of developing coronary artery disease and dying from the condition. In addition to improving your metabolism, weight loss surgery can help you lose more weight than lifestyle modifications alone.

How to prevent obesity

Maintain a healthy body weight for your overall well-being. An excellent initial step is to make an effort to prevent obesity in your daily life. Obesity may be avoided with even modest lifestyle adjustments like eating more veggies and working out a few times each week.

A dietitian or nutritionist can provide you with the guidance you need to get started if you’re interested in taking a more individualised approach to your diet. Make sure to visit your preferred/family doctor to develop a weight loss plan that is the most effective for your body.

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