Obesity and cardiovascular disease

Taking care of our diets, our sleeping habits and the amount of physical activity we do are vital steps we should follow to look after our health. Keep reading to learn the risks of obesity and its relationship with cardiovascular disease.
Obesity and cardiovascular disease

Last update: 20 April, 2019

There is a very close relationship between cardiovascular disease and obesity. Being overweight is a major risk factor of developing a heart disease. In this article, we’ll look deeper into the causes and solutions for this problem.

Obesity: a growing health concern

Obesity means an adult person has a body max index above 30 kg/m2. The waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and height to weight ratio are also considered when assessing if a person is overweight or obese.

Both overall obesity and abdominal fat are associated with a higher risk of early death. For that reason, this is a growing health concern in developed countries and has been for nearly two decades. Sadly, it seems that this situation is getting worse despite the fact that many people are trying to follow a healthy lifestyle.

obesity and cardiovascular diseases

Obesity is more related to morbidity in adults than other factors such as smoking, alcoholism, and poverty. It’s even higher than in traffic accidents and cancer. Many doctors and scientists affirm that since the beginning of this new millennium, obesity has become a more serious epidemy. It currently affects people of all ages.

Obesity has been cataloged as one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary disease, heart failure, and hypertension.

Cardiovascular diseases and obesity

Obesity is one of the reasons people suffer from cardiovascular diseases, although it’s not the only one. Nowadays, heart problems are mainly associated with being overweight. Being overweight can also trigger other pathologies such as hypertension or high cholesterol.

Many doctors agree that an obese person is more likely to suffer a heart attack than someone on their ideal weight. But there are other factors we should consider, such as body mass index, smoking or drinking habits and the amount of exercise they do.

No-one can deny that obesity is one of the biggest health issues that western society is facing nowadays. If we analyze the 21st century’s most common causes of death, we’ll notice that cardiovascular disease is on the top of the list of developed countries.

Obesity and being overweight increases the risk of suffering a heart attack. And on top of that, someone that is above their ideal weight has a lower quality of life.

You may wonder about the diseases linked to obesity? Those are coronary disease, heart failure, ventricular arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, and sudden death.

Alongside the connection with obesity and cardiovascular disease, an obese person has higher chances of suffering from hypertension, sleep apnea, type II diabetes, dyslipidemia, and fatty liver.

Relationship between obesity and cardiovascular diseases

It’s not as easy as saying “an obese person has a higher risk of suffering a heart attack than a thin person”. When we’re talking about physical and biological issues, there are many factors that play a role.

cardiovascular diseases and obesity

The relationship between cardiovascular diseases and obesity is very complex. For example, research has proved that being overweight increases the production of leptin (a hormone responsible for inducing satiety) and insulin. It also increases the amount of free fatty acids in the blood and the accumulation of fat in the arteries. The latter is a very serious issue since it leads to coronary atherosclerosis.

On the other hand, the excess of fat accumulated in the viscera and adipose tissue causes metabolic problems such as insulin resistance, a size change of the low-density lipoprotein particle and hypertriglyceridemia.

It’s important to point out that obesity increases both the volume of blood as the cardiac output. This means that your heart must work harder if you’re overweight. This brings consequences such as dilatation or hypertrophy of the heart’s left ventricle, among other abnormalities.

Lastly, you should know that obesity causes a thickening of the ventricular walls. This factor favors the development of cardiovascular diseases.

It’s more important to check on our body mass index than the number shown on the scale. In many cases, the fat accumulated in the abdominal area can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack more than the overall extra pounds you may carry.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Villareal Ram�rez, S. M. (2002). Prevalencia de la obesidad, patolog�as cr�nicas no transmisibles asociadas y su relaci�n con el estr�s, h�bitos alimentarios y actividad f�sica en los trabajadores del Hospital de la Anexi�n. Rev. Cienc. Adm. Financ. Segur. Soc.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.