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Obesity Harmful to Heart Independent of Other Risk Factors

Posted Feb 18 2011 12:00am

Obesity constitute ones of the greatest public health threats facing the country. The problem is comparable to other chronic, highly prevalent diseases such as adult-onset diabetes and cardiac disease and also tightly linked to both of them (see: Obesity as a Cause of Death Recorded on Death Certificates ; Rising Rate of Esophageal Cancer in the U.K.; Relationship to Obesity ; Obesity, Nutrigenomics, and the Clinical Laboratory ). However, evidence continues to mount that obesity has a toxic effect on the heart independent of other common risk factors (see: Obesity is heart disease killer in its own right, irrespective of other risk factors ). Below are the details:

Increasing weight is associated with a higher prevalence of known risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. And it has been assumed that these have been responsible for the increased risk of heart disease seen in obesity, say the authors [of a study of obese males]. The research team tracked the health of more than 6,000 middle aged men with high cholesterol, but no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for around 15 years. After excluding men who had cardiovascular problems or died within two years of the start of monitoring, to correct for any bias, 214 deaths and 1,027 non-fatal heart attacks/strokes occurred during the whole period....Not unexpectedly, the results showed that the higher a man's weight, the higher was his likelihood of having other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And there was no increased risk of a non-fatal heart attack with increasing BMI, (when using either approach) But the risk of death was significantly higher in men who were obese - a BMI of 30 to 39.9 kg/m2. In the model, simply correcting for age and smoking, this risk was 75% higher. And despite correcting for known cardiovascular risk factors, medication, and deprivation ..., the risk was still 60% higher. Inflammation is a strong factor in fatal cardiovascular disease, and obesity is increasingly being recognised as an inflammatory state, which may partly explain how obesity is linked to heart disease, say the authors. This has implications for treatment and prevention....

The take-home lesson here is that obesity, independent of other risk factors, causes a persistent inflammatory state and this predisposes to heart disease (see: Research Study Documents that Obesity Cause Heart Inflammation ). For many decades, a widely-held theory is that coronary heart disease has an inflammatory basis and can be monitored by the level of c-reactive protein (see: Inflammation, Heart Disease and Stroke: The Role of C-Reactive Protein ). So, belly fat turns out to be a little hormone factory that churns out visfatin as one example of a substance that promotes inflammation (see: Visfatin, A "Belly Fat" Hormone, and Its Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome ). Here's a quote from this previous note:

Nampt, PBEF, and visfatin refer to an identical protein, as judged by its amino acid sequence, with multiple biological functions....This protein has also been reported to be a cytokine (PBEF) that promotes B cell maturation and inhibits neutrophil apoptosis....Nampt/PBEF was recently re-identified as a “new visceral fat-derived hormone” named visfatin. It is reported that visfatin is enriched in the visceral fat of both humans and mice and that its plasma levels increase during the development of obesity. Strikingly, visfatin is reported to exert insulin-mimetic effects in cultured cells and to lower plasma glucose levels in mice by binding to and activating the insulin receptor.

Interested in shutting down this hormone factory? Shed some pounds, particularly belly fat.

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