Obesity and Heart Failure Risk
Years of research have revealed what doctors and scientists have long suspected— that excess weight puts undue stress on the heart, which can and often does damage it and leads to heart failure. The chance of severe, permanent, and sometimes fatal inflammation of heart tissue increases over time and is often exasperated by additional weight gains. Translation: the more weight you put on, the greater the likelihood that you will damage your heart, perhaps irrevocably.
Several recent studies that all arrived at this same conclusion were aimed squarely at the estimated 70 million Americans currently classified as obese. The study also proved that while being overweight does put extra strain on the heart, being obese puts an incredible amount of pressure on the heart, as it much more difficult for the organ to fulfill its primary function and actually pump blood to the extremities.
While the study doesn’t tell the scientific community anything they haven’t long suspected, hopefully it will serve as a wakeup call to the millions of Americans who believe that diabetes, hypertension, and arterial sclerosis are the only diseases and disorder that are directly affected by their weight. The fact is that the damage that can be done by carrying excess weight can lead to heart failure and death. It should come as no surprise why obese people are several times more likely to suffer a heart attack than people who maintain an average weight.
In fact, in study after study people who are overweight, and especially those who are obese suffer heart failure at a rate of nearly four times the average population. Why does this occur? Well, one thing that doctors and scientists point to is important immune system proteins that are found in abundance in obese individuals and are known to cause inflammation in the heart.
As if these findings were not enough of an incentive for obese people to change their diets and get some exercise, it has also been discovered that the link between Type 2 diabetes and obesity is stronger than once believed. The bottom line is that Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that almost always develops in people with a history of weight problems.
This has prompted researchers from several of the top colleges and universities to posit that obesity should be considered the number one health crisis in the country today. Not only does the condition lead to known killers like heart disease and hypertension, but it is also inextricably linked to Type 2 diabetes and heart failure.
In fact, simply comparing a chart of increased cases of Type 2 diabetes and obesity over the last decade or two is enough to make anyone accept the fact that obesity causes the disorder. With regards to economics, diabetes is directly responsible for tens of billions of dollars in medical costs each and every year, and the numbers will only continue to grow as the nation’s collective waistband shows no signs of slimming down.
While treating diabetes is expensive, it’s a drop in the bucket compared with the money and expertise it takes to care for someone who is suffering from inflammation of the heart, which may lead to heart failure. Specialists like cardiologists often have to be called in and thousands of dollars in prescription medications, both experimental and accepted, are often administered.
As the problem becomes bigger and bigger as the nation does, doctors expect that heart inflammation and heart failure will cost the country billions of dollars and that tens of millions of people will be at high risk of developing it in the coming years. Currently, over 300,000 people die from heart failure each year.