The Close Relationship Between Obesity and Heart Disease
As the rates of North American obesity continue to grow, so do the cases of associated health problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, blocked arteries and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, roughly 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Carrying around all that extra weight puts a tremendous strain on the heart, and unless the numbers start to turn around, there could be an epidemic of heart disease deaths triggered by obesity.
The Unmistakable Importance of Heart Health
Your heart is about as big as a closed fist, and its primary purpose is to pump oxygenated blood to all of the cells and tissues of your body. Without oxygen, your tissues quickly begin to die off, and this includes your brain cells. Your heart never shuts off, and a normal heart pumps more than 100,000 times per day. Put simply, if your heart stops beating you will die within minutes.
Obesity and Your Heart
Many lifestyle choices and health conditions can damage your heart function, and obesity is becoming a more common part of that list. When you are obese, your levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol will drop, while your LDL or “bad” cholesterol will rise. Obesity will increase blood pressure, and carrying around so much excess weight will force your heart to work harder, beating more frequently and pumping harder to distribute the blood throughout your body.
Obese people are ten times as likely to develop atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries compared to people who are not obese. Fatty deposits in the arteries that supply the heart increase the risk of coronary artery disease, and these narrowed arteries also increase the risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to strokes.
Increased Risk of Sudden Death
The American Heart Association says that obese patients have a higher incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy with and without the presence of hypertension, increased stroke volume and cardiac output. The changes that occur in the left heart ventricle of obese patients have been associated with sudden death, due to cardiac arrest. This type of scenario is truly frightening, and is perhaps the boldest example of how obesity can adversely affect the function of your heart.
Weight Loss Surgery and the Journey Back to Health
If you’re leaning toward bariatric surgery, there are several benefits for you to look forward to when it comes to heart health. Procedures like the lap-band or vertical sleeve gastrectomy will help you lose up to half your bodyweight, reducing many of the heart risk factors associated with obesity.
Losing weight with bariatric surgery will allow your body to circulate blood more efficiently, your heart won’t have to pump as vigorously to do its job and your arteries won’t become clogged with plaque. Bariatric surgery has the potential to save your life and reverse heart disease caused by obesity.
Contact the New York Bariatric Group at 800.633.8446 to talk with one of their weight loss experts to explore the many bariatric surgery options available. You can also choose to register for a free seminar to learn more about our procedures by clicking here.