That's a one heart health factor you can control; here's how...
16 July 2019| Last updated on 22 July 2019
There’s no denying the fact that obesity has been on the rise worldwide for decades.
For obese people, the issue is much more risky than being related to cosmetic guise. It has been proven to make life uncomfortable and to negatively impact people’s quality of life. Moreover, it also comes with more serious health-threatening issues, the most alarming of which is heart disease!
Obesity is also no longer a condition that just affects older people, although the likelihood does increase with age, and increasing numbers of young people have been diagnosed with obesity. You can find out if you are obese by calculating your body mass index (BMI), a measurement based on your height and weight.
A BMI of 25-29 means you are overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher means you are obese. In general, having a waist size of more than 40 inches in men or 35 inches in women raises a red flag and can be a concern.
Obesity can contribute to your increased risk for heart disease? Sadly this is true, and here`s how:
1. It can put you at risk of high cholesterol levels
Thanks to increased awareness, most probably you know this fact by now. But it’s not just high cholesterol that’s the problem. In obesity, triglycerides and LDL or `bad` cholesterol tends to be high. HDL or `good` cholesterol (which is important for reducing bad cholesterol and helps to thwart the risk for heart disease) is too low. This increases your risk of heart disease; heart attack and stroke.
2. It can induce your blood pressure to rise
Obese people have an increase in fatty tissue in the body which needs oxygen and nutrients in order to live, and this necessitates the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. This increases the workload on the heart because it must pump more blood through additional blood vessels. More circulating blood also means more pressure on the artery walls throughout the body. High blood pressure (Hypertension) is also a major cause of heart attack - sadly more common among obese people.
3. It can lead to diabetes
High cholesterol, high blood pressure and increased risk for heart attacks aren’t the only health-threatening menaces you need to be concerned about if you’re obese. Obese people are much more prone to develop type II diabetes, and over time, the uncontrolled high blood glucose levels can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, diabetes is one of the top seven major controllable factors to prevent heart disease. If you have diabetes but have yet to be diagnosed with heart disease, now is the right time to take a real action.
PROTECT YOUR YOUNG HEART!
Most of the major heart disease risk factors can be controlled and here`s how:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight — especially if you carry excess weight around your middle — increases your risk of heart disease. Striving for a healthy weight with limiting your salt intake is a must if you really want to control your blood pressure and lower that risk. Even small amounts of weight loss seem to improve metabolic function as well as enhance heart pumping and relaxation. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels usually improve, too. Many people falsely believe that weight loss must be all or nothing. The truth is, every little bit counts. There’s no `secret` to success, and losing weight isn’t an easy job, but there’s no doubt it’s worth it … it can save your life.
- Get active: 30 minutes of activity every day (at least 5 days/week) can do wonders in preventing heart attacks and stroke. Try to make exercise a regular element of your daily routine. Bear in mind that being active is an effective way to not only control your weight, but also to relieve some of life`s daily stress you`re exposed to.
- Stop smoking and protect yourself from tobacco: By quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time. Also exposure to second-hand smoking significantly increases the risk of heart attack, so do your heart a big favour by avoiding smoke-clogged environments.
- Eat healthy: To get the maximum benefit for your heart, you should opt for more fruits, vegetables, and foods with whole grains and fat-free proteins. You also should reduce or even cut off food with added sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats. Be wary of processed foods, which hold high levels of salt. Water, water, and then drink more water!
- Get regular health screenings: High blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without screening for them, you probably won't know whether you have these health-endangering problems. Regular screening can keep you informed about you what your readings are and whether you need to take action.
Undoubtedly, your body weight and your risk for heart disease are linked. Keen to know your vulnerability to heart disease? Like it or not, one of the best ways to know is to get on the scale. If you're unhappy with what the scale tells you, you're not alone. Bear in mind that being overweight doesn`t warrant that you'll suffer from heart problems but surely you`re at a higher risk.
Spoken with the power of conviction, hearing that you are at risk for heart disease can feel very scary when you hear it from a medical professional. But there are things you can do to effectively manage or decrease that risk. If you`re on the heavy side, you have the power to reduce much of that danger. By losing weight, you can give your young heart a well-deserved break. It`s due time for you to work together with your trusted health care professionals; your cardiologist and nutritionist, to get the care that you need for your journey towards health and wellness. You can find that living a more active and energetic life will benefit you in many ways—including reducing your risk for heart disease … Don`t you feel your heart deserves that extra mile?
Wishing you everlasting heartily health,
Authored by Dr. Abhay Pande, MD, FACC, FESC, FSCAI (USA)
Interventional Cardiology Expert