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What is the Connection Between Heart Disease and Obesity?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Heart disease and obesity are connected in many indirect and direct ways, and many obesity-related conditions sometimes result in heart disease. Some of these conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. The direct relationship between heart disease and obesity is found in the connection between excess body fat and congestive heart failure. People who are obese, but do not have any of the contributing conditions are still at higher risk for heart failure. This is believed to be because people who are overweight often have weakness in the left ventricular of the heart.

The left ventricular is a chamber of the heart located on the lower left side of heart itself. It is responsible for oxygenating blood and pumping it back out into the body. When the chamber is functioning properly, the blood leaving the chamber is coming out under a great deal of pressure. In people who are obese, the blood that pumps from the left ventricular has much less force. The reason for this is still unclear, but it is seems to be a condition shared by enough overweight people that it is considered a common connection between heart disease and obesity.

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Some studies have shown that in relation to heart disease and obesity, placement of fat on the body may be an important factor. Obese people who carry their fat primarily in the abdominal cavity are believed to be at more risk for heart attack than those whose excess weight is distributed evenly over their bodies. Research seems to indicate that carrying weight in the abdominal area can lead to inflammation and hardening of the arteries, both of which carry a significant risk of heart attack and stroke. For body fat carried in the stomach region, dieting is usually not enough to decrease the mass, so most doctors recommend spot exercises targeted at reducing fat in the abdomen.

Weight loss may be the surest way to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, and most doctors advise a combination of diet and exercise. Diets that are less restrictive and cut calories across all food groups are usually recommended over diets that focus on high proteins or low fats. Many nutritionists claim that the body needs certain levels of fats and carbohydrates to function properly, and excessive limiting of any food group can cause undesirable side effects. Exercise should ideally begin with low impact aerobics, such as walking or swimming. As weight begins to come off, exercise regimes can usually become more strenuous.

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