Most people would agree that it is easy to gain weight, especially when we tend to live an inactive, or sedentary, lifestyle. Eating in excess, or eating unhealthy foods, when combined with a sedentary lifestyle, provides the perfect “gain weight” environment that will lead to an individual becoming “overweight” or “obese”.
There is plenty of research to back up the fact that obesity can severely damage your heart health, and can lead to a problem sleeping, and an increase in inflammation in the body. For instance, one study, published in the Cardiology section of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in April 2018, deduced that adults between the ages of 40 and 60 and are considered to be obese, have an exponentially higher risk of developing heart disease when compared to non-obeseadults of the same age.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) define an individual as “overweight” when their o body mass index (BMI) falls between 25 and 29.9; to be defined as “obese”, an individual must have a BMI over 30. It may be surprising that individuals who have a BMI greater than 25, have much greater chances of developing heart diseases at a young age. There is no denying the fact that being overweight or obese has severe consequences for individuals. The following list details how easy it can be to gain weight and the health problems that arise from the extra pounds.
1. Extra Weight Increases Your Risk of Developing Heart Disease
Most Americans have a history of heart disease in their family history, making the “gain weight” risk much more terrifying. There are several other risk factors that can increase your risk of developing heart disease, such as suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. The likelihood of developing heart disease is exponentially higher when the previously mentioned risk factors are compounded by an inactive lifestyle and being overweight. Furthermore, having an obese lifestyle also increases your chances of metabolic disorders, low blood sugar levels and an expanded waist.
2. Being Overweight Increases the Chance of Suffering from Sleep Apnea
Carrying excess weight also has the potential to cause a problem sleeping. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleeping disorder that causes an individual to intermittently stop, then restart, breathing throughout the night. While sleep apnea is destructive enough on its own, it also causes an individual to get very little, if any, good quality sleep at night, causing a chronic state of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation, in turn, leads to higher stress levels, a slower metabolism (causing you to gain weight easier) and higher heart attack risk.
Shockingly, that’s only the beginning of the health impacts of sleep apnea, it’s also a hazard for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Earlier this year, a study published in the journal, Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, declared that overweight individuals with slight sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from hypertension, heart diseases, Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes and stomach related problems.
3. Weight Gain Increases Inflammation in the Body
A little known fact about weight gain is that it can increase the amount of inflammation throughout your body. An increase in inflammation levels in the body can lead to localized swelling and pain, causing the skin of the inflamed area to become hot and red. Inflammation can release harmful toxins and can increase an individual’s risk of developing atherosclerosis along the walls of the arteries. Overtime, the plaque that has built-up in an artery can break away from the arterial wall, creating a blood clot that, if large enough, can cause a heart attack.
4. Weight Gain Can Affect Your Heart’s Ability to Function
Recent studies have revealed that excessive weight gain can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation is when an individual’s heart develops a rapid and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) in its upper atria, which can lead to numerous, potentially fatal, problems. The American Heart Association lists a few complications of atrial fibrillation: the formation of blood clots, strokes, heart failure, and other grave heart diseases. Also, obesity has been linked to developing an enlarged heart from untreated high blood pressure.
Studies also show that being obese can raise your LDL cholesterol levels — the “bad” cholesterol that leads to plaque formation on the walls of arteries. Being overweight can cause your heart to work harder to dutifully transport blood throughout your body, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Carrying excess weight also increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which develops as a consequence of your body’s inability respond to insulin being produced (insulin resistance), or its unable to produce enough insulin naturally.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 diabetes and tends to develop gradually. Usually, people develop type 2 diabetes after the age of 40.
5. Extra Weight Strains Your Heart to Work Harder
That extra weight around your hips, buttocks, arms or any other body part, is causing your heart to be under immense stress and making it strain to function normally. The damage that stress is doing to an individual’s heart is most commonly observed during the relaxation period of the cardiac cycle, also called the diastole. As more and more stress is placed on your heart, your blood pressure will begin to rise as your heart strains to push blood throughout your body; eventually leading to symptoms of heart failure.
6. Take Preventative Steps to Protect Your Heart
The number that appears on the scale is not the issue; the issue lies with where the extra weight is distributed on your body, which defines your risk for heart-related problems. To put it simply, excessive belly fat, which is also called central or abdominal obesity, is connected to being the most dangerous for your heart’s health. A large amount of belly fat gives rise to triglycerides level in the bloodstream, which can rupture plaques in the arteries. Now you know why doctors say, your weight measurement is nothing as compared to your overall body weight.
For those who are overweight or obese, it’s important to realize that it isn’t too late to reverse some negative side effects related to your BMI. In fact, cutting down a few pounds can reduce your chances of developing harmful heart diseases and other health problems. When people lose up to 5 pounds, they may start to see positive changes in their pulse, blood sugar levels, and overall health.
Without a doubt, losing excess weight will reduce your chances of a heart attack; but that’s only the first step of gaining back your heart’s health. . Most, doctors suggest taking medications that help reduce the levels of LDL in the blood and increase the levels of HDL. You should consult with your doctor to decide what medication is best for your body and what dosage will be optimal for your health..
The simplest way to lose body weight is to maintain a balanced “heart health food” diet and set a goal to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. There are also new technological inventions that can help get rid of unwanted fat, such as “Fat Freezing”.
If your BMI is at the borderline of obesity, we suggest consulting a dietician and religiously following a weight loss program to shed off the extra pounds.
However, if you plan to lose weight on your own, try to follow a strict “heart health food” and diet regimen with lots of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, proteins, whole grain foods, olive oil, and poultry fish. Try to avoid negative “heart health foods” that are high in carbs , sugary items, soft drinks, junk foods, etc. In the exercise, you may do a combination of aerobics and strength training to burn fat and develop more muscle mass.
7. Be Active to Lose Weight and Improve Your Heart Health
Any form of physical activity – running, yoga, walking, swimming, and even brisk walking, exercises your heart muscle. In fact, exercising, along with following a balanced (healthy) diet and not drinking or smoking, is one of the best things you can do to keep your heart healthy. Physical activity strengthens your heart, burns fat, makes you feel great, and has a plethora of benefits that don’t end here. Exercise has been shown to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve and manage levels of cholesterol
- Lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes
- Reduce CRP (C-reactive protein) High levels of CRP in the blood is usually caused by inflammation, and can increase your risk for heart conditions.
New research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, revealed that people who lost 1/5th of their body weight vastly improved their metabolic health. These benefits are greater for people who managed to lose more weight.
Remember that a healthy weight will be different for every person and is dependent on your own unique body. Following the steps mentioned above can positively impact your heart and overall health.