Heart Disease and Weight Gain
The risk of heart disease doesn’t begin with the heart. It begins with how well you take care of yourself and reduce the danger signs in your life. One important danger sign is weight gain. Risk factors that contribute to heart disease include: diabetes Type 2, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. The one factor that can bring on all of these things is obesity. Obesity has become an epidemic. We eat foods high in saturated fats and we lack proper daily exercise. The extra poundage puts a greater strain on the heart to pump blood to all of the tissues. People are developing what were considered “senior problems” earlier in life due to obesity.
This is how it works. Eating the wrong foods leads to an increase in our total blood cholesterol, particularly LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol sticks to the walls of our vessels and forms hard plaques. As plaques form, they narrow the opening, or lumen, of the arteries. The blood pressure increases because we now have a smaller pathway for blood to travel.
Our risk of developing diabetes increases when we are overweight. Production of insulin by the pancreas goes haywire. We produce too much. The excess insulin in the blood damages the lining of our vessels making them more susceptible to plaque formations. Doctors can test for precursors to Type 2 diabetes. If the precursors are treated then diabetes may not develop. If not, we become diabetic for life.
The plaques that form can break off and roam free in the blood stream. If they get stuck in a major artery like the coronary arteries that feed the heart, then the person will suffer a heart attack. Immediate intervention can save a life, but that person is still doomed over the long term if they don’t do something about their weight.
As long as a person remains obese, the other risk factors hang around also. See a doctor to get a comprehensive physical and instructions for lowering the risk of heart disease. Changing the foods we eat is the first step. We must lower our caloric intake and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Exercise is a must to improve cardiovascular health. We improve our oxygen efficiency and shed pounds at the same time. Losing even ten percent body fat greatly reduces the risk of heart disease in a person’s life. Every little bit counts.
To reduce the risk of heart disease, we must drop the pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight not only makes us feel better, but keeps our hearts running at maximum efficiency. Don’t neglect to do something about the one risk factor that we can definitely change.