Almost every study that has ever been published has found that obesity can be a leading cause of heart disease. A new study led by UCLA cardiologist Tamara Horwich agrees with those findings. However, Horwichâ€™s study found the link between obesity and heart disease may be much more complex than previously believed.
While obesity may increase the risks of heart disease in many patients, it may also limit its impact. Horwich said that obesity may even reduce the risk of heart failure. This is one of the only ways that obesity has been shown to help patients.
Heart attacks occur when the heart is no longer able to pump all the blood the body needs. Individuals suffering from heart failure show a number of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty breathing and coughing
- Swollen limbs due to pooling fluids
Although genetics and a number of other traits contribute to heart disease, obesity is shown to increase the likelihood of developing the condition.
The UCLA researchers decided to investigate the connection between heart disease and obesity more thoroughly. They reviewed the medical records of nearly 3,000 UCLA patients suffering from heart failure. They looked at their patients to draw a correlation between the odds of surviving heart failure and a patientâ€™s body mass index (BMI). They found that the patients with higher BMI had a higher incidence of survival. A similar comparison with subjects with higher circumferences drew a similar conclusion.
[box type=”note”]Men who were classified as overweight by their body mass indexes had a 63% chance of survival. Those with lower BMIs only had a 53% of surviving heart failure. Overweight women had a 67% chance of survival, while the survival odds of women with a normal BMI suffering from heart failure was slightly under 57%.[/box]
Horwich and her colleagues have said that obesity seems to have the same effect in reducing the risk of heart failure among both genders. How can obesity reduce the risk of heart failure? They are surprised by the results and are at a loss to explain them. However, researchers hope that additional studies can show a possible cause-effect relationship between obesity and a lowered chance of suffering from heart failure.