Heart Disease Home > Obesity and Heart Disease
Review Your Risk
The final step in determining your need to lose weight is to determine other risk factors for heart disease. It is important to know whether you have any of the following:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- High LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
- Low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- High triglycerides
- High blood glucose (blood sugar)
- A family history of premature heart disease
- Physical inactivity
- Cigarette smoking.
If you're a man, being age 45 or older is also a risk factor for heart disease. For a woman, being age 55 or older or having gone through menopause increases the risk. If you aren't sure whether you have some of these risk factors, ask your doctor.
Once you've taken these three steps, you can use the information to decide if you need to take off pounds. While you should talk with your doctor about whether you should lose weight, keep these guidelines in mind:
- If you are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more other risk factors, or if you are obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30), you should lose weight.
- If you are overweight, have a high waist measurement (over 35 inches for a woman; over 40 inches for a man), and have two or more other risk factors, you should lose weight.
- If you are overweight but do not have a high waist measurement and have fewer than two other risk factors, you should avoid further weight gain.
If you need to lose weight, here's some good news: A small weight loss -- just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight -- will help to lower your risk for heart disease and other serious medical disorders. The best way to take off pounds is to do so gradually by getting regular physical activity and eating a balanced diet that is lower in calories and saturated fat. For some people at very high risk, medication also may be necessary. To develop a weight loss or weight maintenance program that works well for you, or to get more information about obesity and heart disease, talk with your doctor, registered dietitian, or qualified nutritionist.