Health Effects of Obesity
Another serious health effect of obesity is heart disease. Heart disease refers to diseases that only occur in the heart and the blood vessel system within the heart (see Heart Diseases). The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease (CAD) and ischemic heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States and in most Westernized countries. People with heart disease are also at increased risk for angina, congestive heart failure, or an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
Link to Obesity
People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from:
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides (blood fats)
- High LDL cholesterol (a fat-like substance often called the "bad cholesterol")
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol").
These are all heart disease risk factors. In addition, people with more body fat have higher blood levels of substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation in blood vessels and throughout the body may raise a person's risk for heart disease.
(See Obesity and Heart Disease for more information.)
Impact of Weight Loss
Losing 5 to 15 percent of your weight can lower your chances of developing heart disease. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing as little as 10 pounds. Weight loss may lower blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels; improve how your heart works and your blood flows; and decrease inflammation throughout your body.
(Click Weight and Heart Disease for suggestions on decreasing your weight. Click Heart Disease Prevention for more ideas on preventing heart disease.)