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Obesity and Heart Disease

The Effect of Obesity on Heart Disease

It is hard to overstate the dangers of an unhealthy weight. If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop forms of heart disease, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina (chest pain), and abnormal heart rhythm, even if you have no other heart disease risk factors. The more overweight a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop heart disease.
 
Also, people who are overweight or suffer from obesity are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, high levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and LDL cholesterol (a fat-like substance often called the "bad cholesterol"), and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol"). These are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. In addition, people with more body fat have higher blood levels of substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation in blood vessels and throughout the body may increase the risk for heart disease.
 

Do You Need to Lose Weight?

Do you need to lose weight to lower your risk of heart disease? You can find out by taking three simple steps:
 
  • Determine your BMI
  • Determine your waist circumference
  • Review your risk.
     
Determine Your BMI
Body mass index, or BMI for short, is a tool that is used to measure a person's weight status. To calculate BMI, only a person's weight and height are required. Because of this simplicity, BMI is the most routinely used method to measure a person's weight status.
 
There are a few ways to determine your BMI:
 
  • Calculate it using the BMI formula
  • Use the BMI chart
  • Use the BMI calculator.
     
A BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 indicates a normal weight. A person with a BMI from 25 to 29.9 is overweight, while someone with a BMI of 30 or higher is obese.
 
Those in the overweight and obese categories have a higher risk of heart disease -- and the higher the BMI, the greater the risk.
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