Obesity is a step towards long term health problems and when it comes to morbid obesity, it can be the sole cause of heart failure risk, a study has revealed.
The study involving more than 13,000 people, found that morbid obesity doubled the chances of heart failure in individuals compared to those with a healthy body mass index (BMI), after accounting for high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The impact, however, was not found on other major types of heart diseases.
The findings suggest that even if a patient has normal blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, they may still be at higher risk of developing heart failure if they are severely obese.
"Obesity in our study has emerged as one of the least explained and likely most challenging risk factors for heart failure because there is no magic pill to treat it," said Chiadi Ndumele, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
Although it is not completely clear why obesity alone is linked to heart failure independent of risk factors and not to stroke or coronary heart disease, Ndumele said that there is evidence to suggest that extra body weight exerts a higher metabolic demand on the heart and that fat cells in the abdomen may even release molecules toxic to heart cells.
Obesity has long been known to increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol and diabetes – all established risk factors for heart and blood vessel diseases.
Treating and controlling these conditions have formed the bedrock strategies for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Ndumele said.
(With agency inputs)