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Obesity and Increased Risk for Heart Disease

October 11, 2019 | Heart Disease

Young female doctor measuring waist of woman

Obesity is a crisis in America, and if you’re obese, you know that it can get in the way of your daily activities. Being overweight can cause fatigue, and can make your joints ache because carrying around extra weight puts a strain on your body. But did you know that obesity can cause life-threatening health issues like heart disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, claiming about 600,000 lives every year. People who are obese are at a higher risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack than those who maintain a healthy weight. In fact, the American Heart Association qualifies obesity as a major risk factor for heart disease.

What does carrying excess weight have to do with your heart? For one thing, obesity increases your risk of developing other conditions that put you at risk for heart disease. When you’re overweight, you’re at a higher risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. All of these conditions can increase your risk of heart trouble. What’s more, obesity causes inflammation in your body, and that inflammation can cause plaque to develop in your arteries. Another factor is that your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body when you’re carrying excess weight. Putting your heart under that kind of increased stress can cause heart failure symptoms.

The good news is that losing weight can reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, even losing just a few pounds can sometimes make a difference in your heart disease risk, because it improves factors like blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. By filling your diet with nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fatty fish, lean meats, nuts and legumes, and healthy fats, you can make a big difference in your weight. Exercising regularly, too, can help you make a change.

If these measures fail, it may be time to consider bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery can help you lose weight quickly, which reduces your risk of obesity-related ailments, including heart disease. Once you’ve had bariatric surgery, you’ll need to maintain a healthy diet and exercise habits, and your doctor will monitor you to make sure you’re staying on track.

If it’s time for you to make a lifelong lifestyle shift, Garden State Bariatrics can help. We are an MBSAQIP accredited bariatric practice, providing surgical and ongoing medical care to help patients reach their nutritional and lifelong goals. We are passionate about our work and committed to our patients’ success.

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