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Body Fat & Heart Disease: Why a Healthy Weight Matters

admin - January 21, 2014

Heart disease screenings can detect heart problems.

Think of what $957 billion looks like. It’s hard to imagine that much money, right? According to the American Heart Association, that amount is the total healthcare costs attributable to obesity if current obesity trends continue through 2030. That massive amount of money is the cost of the health effects of obesity on the American health system, much of which comes from serious diseases like heart disease.

Doctors and researchers have long suspected excess body fat as a factor when it comes to heart disease. In the past couple of decades, an increasing number of scientific studies have backed up this suspicion. For example, according to a May 2012 study published in PLOS Medicine, when a person’s BMI score goes up by four points, they had a 52 percent increase in heart disease risk.

What is the link between excess body fat and heart disease? Science is still studying this connection. According to an article published by Medical News Today, one study conducted by the staff at the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering found that fatty meals can cause inflammation in the walls of the arteries, especially in people with excess abdominal fat and high triglyceride levels. This inflammation can lead to coronary heart disease over time.

Back in July 2013, Science Daily reported on a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study found that people with higher levels of abdominal fat have an increased chance of developing heart disease and cancer.

Excess body weight can also lead to other conditions which factor into heart disease as well. According to the CDC, obesity can lead to these five health conditions, all of which can play a major role in heart health:

  • Hypertension, known as high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Elevated levels of triglycerides
  • Sleep apnea

As you can see, excess body fat has a direct link to heart disease. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep your weight in a healthy range. Many doctors and health professionals consider a person with a BMI level between 18.5 and 24.9 to be healthy. To put it another way as an example, if someone is 5’10”, a healthy range for that person would be from 130 to 170 pounds.

If you suspect you have an increased risk of heart problems, you may want to consider heart disease screening.  Life Line Screening provides preventive health screenings for heart disease to help those at risk detect problems before they lead to life-threatening consequences. Learning where you stand with your heart health is the best way to work towards a healthier life.


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