Weight and Heart Disease
It has long been known that extra weight causes health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain types of cancers, and many other additional health risks. Scientific evidence has now proven that extra weight is a crucial factor, if not the sole factor, in heart disease and heart-related issues.
This article will take a deep dive into weight and heart disease and how the two are related. It will also show that reducing weight will also reduce the chances of heart diseases.
What is Obesity?
Obesity can be measured in a few different ways, including BMI (body mass index) and body fat percentage calculations, which are the most common. A BMI of 25 and higher indicates a person being overweight, according to the CDC. A BMI of 30 and greater indicates obesity. Using body fat percentages, the calculation of 25% and greater for men are obese. For women, 32% and greater are listed as obese.
Other measurements can be employed such as waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, skinfold thickness, bioelectric impedance, underwater weighing (densitometry), air-displacement plethysmography, dilution method (hydrometry), dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), and computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There are many different ways to measure body fat, as you can see from the list. The most common in most refer to is the BMI, which is probably the most inaccurate.
The BMI was invented almost 200 years ago by a Belgian astronomer using averages at the time for the height and weight of humans. The BMI quickly breaks down once the average height or average weight is not within range. For example, a person who is 6’3″ is considered overweight, starting at 195 pounds. For most people at this height, 195 pounds is lean.
What is Heart Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Heart disease, coronary disease, describes a range of conditions that affect your heart.” Heart disease is ofter interchangeable with the term cardiovascular disease. This is a broad definition; however, heart disease comes in many shapes and forms but ultimately affects the heart. There are many different heart disease causes such as abnormal heartbeat, heart defects, weak heart muscles, infections that affect the heart, and valvular disease. All of these represent a small percentage of the total number of heart disease cases.
The most common form of heart disease is called coronary artery disease, CAD, which affects the heart’s blood flow. To be more specific, coronary artery disease makes up almost 60% of all heart disease cases in the United States. Effectively coronary artery disease is when plaque builds up inside of your heart prevents oxygen from being delivered to your heart. This build-up of plaque narrows the arteries inside the heart, constricting blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients. As the restriction continues to develop, a complete blockage can occur, leading to a heart attack or heart failure.
The Cause of Coronary Artery Disease
The major causes, risk factor, of coronary artery disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, lack of activity, physical activity or exercise, and excessive weight. Taking a more in-depth look at heart disease risk factors, smoking is the only one not caused by excessive weight. High blood pressure generally occurs when there’s excessive weight on the body, and the heart has to pump an extreme amount of blood to reach the extremities through excessive fat.
High cholesterol is directly linked to obesity generally for the fact that the liver is the organ responsible for producing cholesterol and collecting cholesterol, but when there’s a high level of fat in the body, the liver is not able to perform correctly. Essentially, the liver focuses on trying to rid the body of high levels of toxins and fats instead of filtering out bad cholesterol levels, also known as LDL.
Diabetes is also directly linked to obesity for the simple reason that fat tissues absorb insulin, which is used to maintain sugar levels. This prevents insulin from performing its job as fat tissues engulf it before it can maintain sugar levels. The body will produce more insulin, in this case, to help with sugar levels, but again fat tissues absorb the insulin before it’s able to perform its job. This process will increase insulin sensitivity in the body, where insulin has diminishing effects on blood sugar levels. This is how type two diabetes begins in humans.
Coronary heart disease is on the rise as weight gain continues to grow, heart health decreases, and a heavy normal weight is viewed as normal. This recipe is mortality in the making. To reverse this, partake in weight loss activities like physical activity, a diet with less saturated fat, and enter into smoking cessation.
The human body was never built to carry excessive amounts of weight on it, which attributes to increased risk. The evolutionary process created us to maintain a minimum amount of fat at all times. The process of having excess weight is a relatively new phenomenon. Excessive amounts of weight carried today are incredibly unhealthy and produce adverse benefits for our body. This is evident by the top cause of death in the United States being heart disease, which is primarily caused by excessive weight. The second leading form of death in the United States is cancer, of which numerous types of cancers are linked to excessive weight. The fifth leading cause of death in the United States is diabetes, which again is caused by excessive weight for the most part.
None of these leading causes of death had a high level of presents just a few hundred years ago and back throughout time. This is more than enough proof to show that excessive weight is a complete negative for the human race.
By reducing weight and achieving a healthy weight, the probability of lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are significantly reduced, which then, in turn, reduces the likelihood of heart disease. For the most part, heart disease does not happen but instead is caused by another health issue. By reducing or eliminating the other health issues will then reduce or eliminate heart disease. Simple cause and effect. Start a healthy diet and see the results.
Weight and heart disease are directly related to one another, as shown throughout this article. Weight is also a key contributor. The main focal point for many other health issues faced today is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, all of which can be attributed to obesity.
It is time for us to wake up and start losing weight before we eat ourselves to death as a society.