Obesity has an impact on the quality of life, but it can also make you more at risk for life-threatening disease like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. February is National American Heart Month. It’s a good idea to review the link between obesity and heart disease, review your heart health, and make any necessary changes.
Obesity is associated with a rise in blood pressure. That’s because individuals with obesity need more blood to supply the body with oxygen and nutrients. This requires more pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension can increase your likelihood of having a heart attack. It may also lead to an enlarged left ventricle and increase your risk of heart failure.
Not only does obesity make you more likely to have high levels of bad cholesterol—including triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol)—it may also lower your levels of good cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (or HDL cholesterol) is important. It actively works to reduce your levels of bad cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.
Individuals with obesity are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which is the impaired ability to tolerate glucose. In turn, type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk for developing heart disease. In fact, it’s reported that individuals with type 2 diabetes are “two to four times more likely to develop heart failure than someone without diabetes.” You can learn more about diabetes and heart disease in our blog here.
Are you worried that you might be at risk for developing heart disease? A quick way to determine if you are at risk because of your weight is to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. A BMI above 25.0 for adults is a sign that you may be overweight. A higher waist circumference is associated with more abdominal fat. If your waist circumference is above 35 as a woman or above 40 as a man, you may be at risk of developing heart disease.
If you are worried about your heart disease risk, talk to your doctor.