Weight Loss And Heart Disease
We’ve all heard it, weight and heart disease go hand-in-hand, yet there is little impact on weight control today, and heart disease is increasing at a rapid pace. Why is it that if it is known to be an issue that such little effort is being put into correcting this issue? Is it because most people think it will not happen to them? Or is it because most people think they can take medication to correct the problem? We’ll take a deep dive into cause and effect and how medication is not the answer.
What is Obesity?
Most people know obesity as a glaring problem facing the United States and the world today. But to be more exact, obesity is defined in the medical field as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater being overweight and 30 or greater as obese. So what do these numbers mean, and how can they be applied to you?
Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms (1 kg = ~2.2 lbs) divided by the square of height in meters. Wow, that is a mouthful. In simple terms, it is a height to weight calculation. BMI is the standard that the medical industry uses today to determine whether an individual is overweight or obese. This calculation does not take certain factors such as muscle mass, over average height, differences in ethnicity, or other significant factors.
BMI is not the only way to determine obesity; other ways include:
Bioelectric Impedance (BIA)
Underwater Weight (Densitometry)
Dilution Method (Hydrometry)
Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)
Computerized Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Like BMI, all these different methodologies have pluses and minuses that range from accuracy to time to cost. The primary reason that BMI is the chosen indicator of obesity is that it is a very simple and very inexpensive, IE $0, process to use. All you have to do is collect your height and weight and look on a chart.
There’s also the simple look in the mirror trick. If you stand in front of a mirror and see the excess weight in areas you don’t think there should be, then there’s an indication there could be a weight issue. People are generally the best judges of themselves and know if they have a weight issue are not.
What is Heart Disease?
“Heart disease refers to conditions that involve the heart, its vessels, muscles, valves, or internal electric pathways responsible for muscular contraction,” as defined by MedicineNet, which goes on to describe any disorder that affects the heart. High-level stuff here. When it comes down to it, it’s abnormalities of the heart. A normal heart has no abnormalities. Heart disease has abnormalities.
So what causes these abnormalities? According to the CDC, the following risk factors contribute to heart disease.
High blood pressure
Overweight and obesity
Lack of physical activity
Excessive alcohol consumption
Heart disease can also lead to heart attack, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and damage to the heart muscle.
Time To See What Is Really Going On!
High blood pressure is caused primarily by obesity. When the body has excessive amounts of body fat, the heart has to work harder to push blood throughout the extremities and get through the additional weight, increasing blood pressure. Higher weights generally equate to higher blood pressure levels because the body needs more blood flow to combat higher body fat.
Cholesterol comes in two HDL and LDL types, with HDL being the good cholesterol and LDL being the bad cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is good because it absorbs cholesterol and returns it to the liver for processing out of the body. Studies have found that an increase in weight reduces HDL levels, which then impacts the absorption of cholesterol to be filtered out by the liver; once this process has been diminished, cholesterol levels increase.
Smoking is ingesting pure toxins into the body! There is overwhelming evidence that smoking damages so many parts of the body. There isn’t anything else that has to be said about how bad this is for your body and its impact on all of your major organs.
Diabetes, type 2 diabetes, is driven by excess weight. The biology behind this is that excessive weight acts as a sponge and absorbs insulin before regulating blood sugar levels. The body will then make more insulin to try to regulate blood sugar levels with no avail because excessive weight again absorbs the insulin before doing its job. This process also increases insulin resistance; a term used when the body produces insulin but does not get insulin benefits. As the body makes more of it, the effects diminish due to excessive weight absorption. Once the body is in an insulin resistance state introducing more insulin has reduced impacts.
Poor diet equals and improper nutrition and excessive calories that the body cannot use, which are then stored as fat. This is the case in typical Americans today, as shown by an accelerated obesity rate of 42.4%. Unfortunately, the United States and many other countries around the world are eating themselves to death.
Lack of physical activity is the body remaining in a passive state. This process is becoming more prevalent as our lifestyles grow more to sitting in front of computers, TVs, devices that hold our attention for hours on end and prevent us from getting the necessary exercise needed. The human body was never built to set in a standby position. Evolution made the bodies to be in perpetual motion over millions of years. This can be seen throughout history as humans were continually moving to capture food, harvest crops, fish, and other requirements to sustain life. Going from a constant movement state to a passive state at the flip of a switch has caused tremendous adversity to the human race.
Last but not least, excessive alcohol consumption. In today’s frantic society, with overloaded stimulus coming at us 24 x 7, some people escape through alcohol. Alcohol is an addictive chemical to the body, and the more consumption, the more the body will crave. Alcoholism is defined as the body craving alcohol more than life’s necessities, which are food, water, and sleep. Once the state occurs, the progression of alcoholism takes over.
Alcohol is non-digestible by the human body and requires a two-step process to eliminate. The first step is the liver releasing enzymes that transfer alcohol into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a class 1 toxin and carcinogenic. Left in this state, tremendous damage can be done to the body, including death. From the acetaldehyde state, the body then converts this chemical into carbon and H2O, eliminating the body. This is a long roundabout way of saying that alcohol is not suitable for the body, can cause tremendous damage, is addicting, and plays a massive role in weight.
Wrapping this all up is evident that weight is a crucial factor, if not the main factor, to all the risk factors leading to heart disease. The medical community defines heart disease as the number one cause of death in the United States and worldwide. However, heart disease is driven by underline effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other risk factors just mentioned above. All the risk factors above, excluding smoking, are driven by excessive weight! It goes without saying that heart disease is not the leading cause of death in the United States or the world but rather excessive weight, leading to heart disease.
Remember, from the start of this article about how medications are not the answer? Medications mask the issue or simply resolve the symptoms but do not alleviate the actual problem. Taking a cholesterol medication may reduce overall cholesterol levels but do not correct the weight issue or address the arteries’ plaque issue, which is a combination of fat and cholesterol.
Weight is a direct contributor to heart disease through various risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other risk factors mentioned in this article. Heart disease can be reduced and or eliminated by merely containing weight. The process of maintaining weight at a healthy level reduces and or eliminates the risk factors defined by the CDC as critical contributors to heart disease.
If everyone in the United States and around the world knew this information and applied it to their life, there would be a substantial decrease and heart disease. Another way of saying this is if you know excessive weight can and usually will lead to heart disease, which is the number one cause of death when you do something about it? It is as simple as losing and maintaining a healthy body weight, which leads to good heart health.