Health Effects of Obesity
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. More than 700,000 strokes occur each year in the United States, which makes stroke the third leading cause of death in the country and the number one cause for serious disability.
Link to Obesity
People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from:
- High blood pressure
- High levels of triglycerides (blood fats)
- High LDL cholesterol (the "bad cholesterol")
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol").
These are all risk factors that can increase a person's chances of having a stroke.
Impact of Weight Loss
Same as with heart disease, losing 5 to 15 percent of your weight can lower your chances of having a stroke. Weight loss may improve your blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels.
(Click Stroke Prevention for more information on reducing your risk for stroke.)
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure inside your blood vessels -- both while the heart is beating and while it is relaxed. As you might assume, high blood pressure is when the pressure within your blood vessels is too high. This is also known as hypertension. About 65 million American adults -- nearly 1 in 3 -- have high blood pressure, making it the most common cardiovascular disease. People with high blood pressure are at increased risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke (see Effects of High Blood Pressure).