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weight and heart disease

Does Your Weight Make You More Susceptible to Cardiovascular Disease?

Obesity is considered a major risk factor for both coronary heart disease and heart attack. Being 20% overweight or more significantly increases your risk of developing heart disease, especially if you have a lot of abdominal fat. The American Heart Association has found that even if you have no other related health conditions, obesity itself increases the risk of heart disease.

Being sedentary causes heart disease risk to increase, possibly even more so for women — inactive females are more likely to become diabetic, have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. All three of these conditions increase the chance of developing heart disease.

Your risk of developing heart disease may be heightened even more by the way your weight is distributed on your body. Being overweight and “apple-shaped” — meaning you carry most of your excess weight in your abdominal area — is considered riskier than being overweight and “pear-shaped.” Apple-shaped individuals also have many other increased health risks including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, “Even when there are no adverse effects on the known risk factors, obesity by itself increases the risk of heart disease. It also harms more than just the heart and blood vessel system. It’s a major cause of gallstones and can worsen the degenerative joint disease.”

stethoscope with heart sign

How Do You Know if You’re at Risk?

To find out if your waistline increases your risk of heart disease, you can measure yourself with a measuring tape. You may need a partner to help you measure accurately. The measurement should be taken at the narrowest part of your waist. A high-risk waistline is 35 inches or higher for women and 40 inches or higher for men.

The good news is, reducing your weight by just 10% can begin to lower your risk of developing heart disease and other obesity-related health problems. Heart disease can often be connected to “known risk factors” with being overweight considered a “modifiable” risk factor (a risk you can do something to prevent). Age and race, on the other hand, are “nonmodifiable” risk factors.

A healthy diet is also an important part of lowering your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a diet that contains no more than 30% of daily calories from fat. For example, if you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day, no more than 600 calories should come from fat. A healthy diet, like the medical weight loss diet program at Calla Slimspa, can help you lower your risk of heart disease with its balanced ratio of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

In addition to managing your weight either on your own or through a medical weight loss center, you can reduce your chances of developing heart disease by controlling other related risk factors such as: controlling your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol, quitting smoking and getting enough exercise.