Even though obesity and being overweight are two very important factors in determining a person's risk of suffering from a heart attack later in life, scientists have demonstrated some time ago that fatter people also appear to be more protected from the effects of such a condition. Experts now know why.
Investigators at the University of California in Los Angeles
found in a new study that having a higher waist circumference and being obese protected men and women who suffered from advanced heart failure from adverse outcomes triggered by their diseases.
Generally speaking, people who are of normal weight experience better health and are less likely to develop conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular deficiency and so on. Yet, for some reason, they do not benefit from this protective effect, against the consequences of heart attacks.
For the new study, researchers qualified participants as being obese, overweight or of normal weight based on their body mass index (BMI). Details of the investigation appear in the July issue of the esteemed American Journal of Cardiology.
Statistically, 3.3 million men and 2.5 million women in the United States suffer from heart failure in various stages, and between 50 and 67 percent of these individuals are either overweight or obese.
Experts studying chronic heart failure have observed a phenomenon called the obesity paradox in their patients quite a while back. The paradox refers precisely to this protective effect that fat people experience.
“The study provides us with more insight about how both genders of heart failure patients may be impacted by the obesity paradox,” explains the senior author of the new investigation, Dr. Tamara Horwich.
She holds an appointment as an assistant professor of cardiology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Heart failure may prove to be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective,” the expert goes on to say.
“We knew that obesity might provide a protective benefit for heart failure patients, but we didn't know whether this obesity paradox applied specifically to women with heart failure, as well as men — and it does,” Horwich concludes.