How Is Obesity Paradox Related to People with Heart Disease?
Posted Nov 04 2008 7:18am
As there are about 65 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have in fact classified obesity as an epidemic in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), obesity costs Americans more than $117 billion annually in health care.
If a person is obese, he or she will have a higher risk, ranges from 50 to 100 percent, of premature death than people of normal weight. Obesity is a risk factor for other diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type-2 diabetes.
However, recent studies have shown that obese people with chronic diseases have a better chance of survival than normal-weight individuals do. This finding is known as “obesity paradox”. Such an unexpected decrease in illness and death with increasing body weight or BMI is originally described in people with heart failure and in patients having angioplasty.
A study by researchers from St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City found that overweight and obese adults with high blood pressure and coronary artery disease also had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke or death, compared with the normal-weight people. Nevertheless, the rationales behind such phenomenon are still unclear. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Medicine.
The effect of overweight and obesity on heart-related outcomes was investigated in 22,576 people who participated in a large study. These people had treated high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
People who were overweight (BMI between 25 and 30), class I obesity (BMI between 30 and 35) and class II-III obesity (BMI 35 or greater) actually had lower risk of heart disease, stroke, or death than those who weighed normal (BMI between 20 and 25).
The researchers also noted that the so-called “obesity paradox” did occur in both men and women across all age groups, even though the blood pressure was better controlled in normal-weight patients.
While improved outcomes appear to be consistently linked to increased BMI, other health experts do caution that one should not conclude that weight reduction is detrimental in overweight populations.
Despite the “obesity paradox”, findings of numerous studies still clearly support the benefits of weight reduction in obese patients with heart disease.