Obesity & The Heart
Obesity is associated with heart disease in a number of ways.
First of all, the heart needs to pump more blood throughout the obese body. The same person, whislt being non-obese, needed his heart to pump less blood than when he's turned obese. Why? Because the larger volumes of soft tissues, especially fatty tissues, need more blood to circulate through them in order to get an adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, the heart has to pump more blood, i.e. do more work, which eventually turns it weaker.
Secondly, the heart muscle thickens due to the increased work load as it needs to pump more blood to the increased volumes of fatty tissues in the obese body. The heart overworks itself already and this increased myocardial thickness serves already as a symptom of cardiac disease already.
Hypertensive Heart Disease
In the first place, obese patients often appear to be hypertensive. So high blood pressure tends to lead to the development of hypertensive heart disease.
Pickwickian Syndrome of Hypoventilation, Carbon Dioxide Retention, Hypoxia, Somnolence, Polycythaemia, Angina Pectoris & Right-Sided Heart Failure
A specific Pickwickian syndrome of hypoventilation with cardon dioxide retention, hypoxia, somnolence, polycythaemia and right-sided heart failure is sometimes caused by obesity. Obesity is directly responsible for the hypoventilation because it restricts respiratory movement; improvement can be achieved by weight loss.
Obesity is important in patients with cardiac disease of any type because the demands on the heart are increased. Weight reduction is an essential component in the prevention and treatment of angina pectoris, hypertension and cardiac failure.
Fatty Heart Disease
In obesity, there is also a condition of the heart which frequently arises nowadays. This condition is called "the fatty heart disease".
So, what is the fatty heart disease?
It is a disease of the heart where the cardiac muscle has undergone fatty degeneration and fat has got accumulated around and in the heart muscle.
Fat builds up in the hearts of pre-diabetic people long before symptoms of heart disease (diabetic cardiomyopathy) or diabetes itself appears. Further, fat builds up in the hearts of people suffering from Type II or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Once the blood sugar level is higher than normal, fat starts to accumulate in the heart.
Referring to the scientific research work regarding a simple magnetic resonance imaging technique developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center (USA) researchers which has revealed fat buildup in the hearts of pre-diabetic people long before symptoms of heart disease or diabetes appear.
Their most important finding, Dr. Szczepaniak said, was that fat buildup in the heart develops before the onset of diabetes. They also found that the amount of fat in the heart of people with abnormal sugar metabolism was significantly higher than in those with normal blood sugar, whether obese or lean.
The amount of fat in the heart was unrelated to the amount of fat in the bloodstream or liver, indicating that measuring any of those factors could not predict accumulation of fat in the heart. Fat in the heart did correspond to the amount of fat in the stomach region, however.
Detecting fat in heart cells is especially important because once a heart cell dies, it is not replaced by a new one, as happens in many other tissues, said Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and a co-author of the paper. “When you lose a heart cell, that’s it — you can’t get it back.”
Some researchers, including those at UT Southwestern, believe that as a person becomes over-weight, fat accumulates in normal fat cells, but eventually fat cells can’t store fat any more. Eventually the excess of fat kills other cells — a hypothesis supported by a recent study by Dr. Unger in mice.
Please bear in mind that no sophisticated test can replace common sense in fighting obesity.
You don’t need a fancy test to tell an obese patient not to eat too much!
Obesity does not only affect the heart of a person, but his lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines and other organs. But more often than not, it is always the heart that sustains the most damage due to the particularities of its physiology. People who are obese are at the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), other heart problems such as ischaemic heart disease, valvular stenosis, valvular regurgitation, endocarditis, arteriosclerosis, and other cardiac diseases. And the moment any one of these develops, a cardiac arrest becomes a potential threat. Even more serious conditions may arise, such as sudden death or the gradual loss of life.
So start diminishing your body fats as from today and live a better and healthier life! Avoid developing heart disease if your heart is still working fine as well as diseases of other organs due to complications caused by obesity.