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*NIHR. Being overweight or obese is linked with heart disease even without other metabolic risk factors. Last updated on: November 2017. [Online]. Available from: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/content/signal-000501/ being-overweight-or-obese-is-linked-with-heart-disease-even-without-other-metabolic-risk-factors. Accessed on: 15.11.2019.
Obesity with other risk factors, can increase the risk of developing heart disease by 2½ times*
It’s time to get your blood glucose checked.
*NIHR. Being overweight or obese is linked with heart disease even without other metabolic risk factors. Last updated on: November 2017. [Online]. Available from: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/content/signal-000501/ being-overweight-or-obese-is-linked-with-heart-disease-even-without-other-metabolic-risk-factors. Accessed on: 15.11.2019.
Test your Obesity IQ
Q1.
Obesity is caused when more calories are consumed than burned
Correct. You answered: True

Obesity is generally caused by eating too much and moving too little. If you consume high amounts of energy, particularly fat and sugars, but do not burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, much of the surplus energy will be stored by the body as fat.

Thank you for completing the quiz.
It was an attempt to test your knowledge on the condition. To know more about your risk, symptoms, treatment and prevention, please go through the website.

Reference:

NHS. Obesity Causes. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/causes/. Last accessed on 05052022
Know more about Obesity

Overweight and obesity refers to the accumulation of abnormal or excessive fat in different parts of the body. A person with body mass index or BMI (ratio of weight in kilograms and the square of height in meters) over 25 and 30 is considered overweight and obese, respectively. A waist/hip ratio above 0.9 and 0.85 in men and women, respectively, represents central obesity.

Obesity is a global problem prevalent in both developed and developing countries. As suggested by the WHO data, 39 percent of the population of over 18 years of age across the world is overweight. Of which 13 percent individuals are obese. In the view of relationship between obesity and heart disease (like cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death), it is important to address the problem before it becomes a menace.

The relation between obesity and heart disease is evident from the role of obesity in causing following adverse complications in the body:

  • Increased levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) , blood lipids, and total cholesterol
  • Decreased levels of HDL or good cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity and overweight is also known to cause hypertensive heart disease

Obesity increases heart risk in three major ways:

Raises Blood Pressure Level – Individuals struggling with obesity need more blood to meet their body’s demand of oxygen and nutrients, which causes a spike in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the arteries by decreasing their elasticity, thereby restricting the blood flow and oxygen to the heart. Decreased blood supply may then lead to many heart-related problems.

Elevates Cholesterol Level – Obesity causes heart disease by elevating bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High cholesterol may then lead to deposition of plaque or fatty deposits in blood vessels, thereby restricting or blocking the blood supply to the heart. Sometimes, those fat deposits can break to form a blood clot that may cause a stroke or a sudden heart attack.

Increases Risk of Diabetes – Obese individuals are also vulnerable to develop diabetes. While high blood sugar alone may damage blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart, it also tends to increase the risk of conditions associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure, higher levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides.

Therefore, keeping a healthy weight can alone minimize the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular disease in multiple ways.

People who are overweight or obese have higher risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is advised to “know your numbers” (blood sugar, BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol) to ward off the risk.

In addition, be watchful of obesity heart disease symptoms discussed below:

  1. Discomfort or Pain in Chest
    Most people who suffered heart attacks complained of discomfort in the center or left side of the chest, usually lasting for a few minutes or more. It may go away and come back. Discomfort may feel like squeezing, pressure, fullness, heartburn or indigestion.
  2. Discomfort in Upper Body
    It may involve discomfort or pain in the back, shoulders, one or both arms, neck, jaw, or in the upper part of the stomach above the belly button.
  3. Shortness of Breath
    This is the most common symptom that appears in all the possible cases of heart attack. It may occur after some physical activity and accompany chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity.

The obesity heart disease symptoms may vary from person to person. Some people like those with high blood sugar (diabetes) may experience very mild or no symptoms.

The first treatment of obesity heart disease begins with obesity treatment as having a healthy weight can help minimize prevalence and severity of heart disease.

Seek doctor’s advice on ways to help reduce weight including the type of physical activity or considering a bariatric surgery (in extreme cases when obesity reaches life threatening levels).

The following treatment approaches may be used depending on the severity of symptoms:

Lifestyle Management
Apart from the genetic factors, the major causes of obesity include unhealthy dietary habits and lack of physical movement. It is advised to consume a low-fat, low-sugar, and low-sodium diet to lower the risk of obesity and subsequent heart disease. Moreover, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five days a week, limiting alcohol intake, and quitting smoking are among the effective strategies to enjoy a great heart health.

Medications
In cases where lifestyle management alone doesn’t help, some medications may be prescribed by the doctor to contain the heart disease. The type and dosage of medication depend on the severity of symptoms and the type of heart disease.

Medical procedures or surgery
Sometimes medications aren’t enough to control the disease. In this scenario, the patient may have to undergo specific procedures or surgery. Again, the type of procedure or surgery depends on the type of heart disease and the severity of damage caused to the heart.

Obesity prevention is the first line of defense for obesity heart disease prevention. However, if the damage has already been done, some effective steps to lose weight can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

  • First of all, people battling obesity, especially those having a family history of heart diseases, should take precautions from early age.
  • Regular exercise, eating a nutritious and balanced diet, and avoiding unhealthy foods can go long way in obesity heart disease prevention. They can also seek a doctor’s help in creating a healthy diet and exercise plan suited to meet their individual needs.
  • Thos who smoke need to quit it with immediate effect, because tobacco intake in any form speeds up the process of arterial blockage, especially in obese people.
  • Limit or leave alcohol in the view of its harmful effect on vital organs.
  • Diet and exercise alone may not work in some cases to achieve a healthy weight. An individual with BMI greater than 35 may need a bariatric surgery to get rid of dangerous fat accumulated around abdominal area. Research studies show that it can help improve or resolve problems associated with weight such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. However, people considering a bariatric surgery should first consult a cardiologist to avoid any possible complications.

Obesity is a silent killer as it activates all risk factors associated with heart disease. If you are obese or overweight and have a family history of cardiovascular diseases, make sure you go for regular screening to determine your cardiovascular health status.

You can also visit Making India Heartstrong for useful advice on maintaining optimal heart health by keeping an eye on heart disease risk factors.

Remember; don’t try any self-medication without doctor’s consultation as same symptoms may indicate different diseases. Consult your doctor if you find yourself vulnerable to heart disease risk.

DID YOU KNOW?
Weight loss of 5-10%

can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and provides improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

Reference:

  • Ref Brown JD. Effects on cardiovascular risk factors of weight losses limited to 5–10 %. TBM 2016;6:339–346

Blogs and Articles on Obesity

Why Is International Men’s Day Important – Especially For Heart Health?
Date : 17th November 2022
Diseases Affecting The Heart – And Your Questions Answered
Date : 22nd August 2022
Physiological Changes In Obesity – And The Value Of Exercise
Date : 22nd August 2022
Tips to help
Tips to help loose weight
  • Reference- NHS. 12 tips to help you lose weight. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/managing-your-weight/12-tips-to-help-you-lose-weight/.
    Last accessed on 05.05.2022.

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