The American College of Cardiology Foundation reports heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in America. They claim every four seconds someone will have a myocardial infarction. And that just in the United States, over a million people are expected to have a coronary event this year.
One contributor to heart disease is hypertension, or high blood pressure. The American Heart Association reports 46% of American adults have hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and can be fatal if left untreated.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims other factors leading to heart disease include smoking, diabetes, and obesity. Before learning more about these connections, it is important to understand heart disease more thoroughly.
WHAT IS HEART DISEASE?
When a heart is diseased, it has been affected by some form of abnormal condition. Many things can happen to affect a heart negatively. The arteries surrounding the heart can become blocked or they can narrow, preventing blood to flow properly.
Arrythmia is another form of heart disease. This happens when you heart beats too fast, too slow, or has an irregular beat. When your heart’s normal rhythm is disrupted, arrythmias appear.
Heart failure is another form of heart disease. This simply means your heart cannot keep up with the needs of your body. When you need breaths, your body is not able to perform, and you become short of breath.
When you need energy, your heart is overworked and instead, makes you feel tired. Heart disease is most often linked with being overweight, or obese.
WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is defined as when a person carries excess weight or extra body fat that could be potentially dangerous to their health. Some medical professionals consider obesity to be at least 20 percent over their ideal body weight, while others relate it to a body mass index of 29 or higher.
Carrying around excess weight puts a strain on all your body parts. Your joints can be overworked, your skin is stretched, and your heart struggles to perform at its best. Obesity can be caused by many factors.
CAUSES OF OBESITY
Genetics is a major factor in obesity. Meaning, if your parents or ancestors struggled with obesity, their genetics may be passed down to you. However, just because you have the genes, does not mean you must suffer from obesity.
You can control other factors that lead to obesity including lifestyle, exercise, diet, stress, lack of sleep and negative habits like smoking.
THE OBESITY-HEART DISEASE CONNECTION
Obesity can lead to damaging effects on the body. Facts show that people who are obese are more likely to experience other health complications.
For instance, Type 2 diabetes is a common disease connecting obesity and heart disease. Obesity can also increase risks of certain cancers such as the breast, liver, kidneys and colon. Obesity leads to digestive problems such as heartburn and gallbladder diseases that can eventually harm your heart.
Sleep apnea is another disease that causes you to stop breathing while you are asleep. This means your heart and the rest of your body is not getting the oxygen it needs to continue functioning. Your risk of heart disease can also be linked to where you store your excess weight.
WHERE YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT IS STORED
Some people carry their excess weight in their thighs and hips. Some carry it in their buttocks and legs. Yet still others carry their extra fat in their mid-section, or in their belly area.
Research has shown that those who carry most of their weight in their belly typically have a higher number of contributors that could lead to heart disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are among these factors.
Those who carry their excess weight in other areas of the body are less likely to have heart disease. This may be because when fat is stored in the abdomen or belly region, the fat is closer to the heart, requiring more effort to function properly.
Where your fat is stored cannot be controlled. Distribution of fat happens naturally. The only thing you can control is your weight.
WHY MANAGING YOUR WEIGHT IS KEY IN PREVENTING HEART DISEASE
Weight loss, even just a small amount, can make a big difference in your potential for heart disease. Losing weight can also reduce ailments that contribute to heart disease. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also reverse, or prevent, Type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining a positive weight means you can feel more active, experience improved moods, and live a longer life. While losing weight can seem like an uphill battle for some, it doesn’t have to be.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT SUCCESSFULLY
Working with a physician who focuses on optimal living through lifestyle changes and with the use of non-surgical techniques is a great start. Your doctor should focus on using your body’s own resources to produce weight loss and management.
Hormones, for example, are one way your doctor can help you lose weight. He or she can also offer guidance on fat-fighting foods, and how to avoid drinks that are not beneficial.
Some doctors will help you lose weight but don’t go the extra step of helping you understand why you gained weight in the first place. Make sure you choose a doctor who wants to help you address all reasons for your weight gain.
Your weight loss physician will also focus on resetting your metabolism, since this is how your body burns calories and fat. Burning calories and fat helps the vital organs in your body function better. For example, your metabolism can help regulate heart rate, brain function and breathing.
Furthermore, your doctor can help you eliminate food allergies, while also replacing vitamins and minerals in which you are deficient, but that are also needed for preventing heart disease. While you can take steps to lose weight on your own, working with a doctor who specializes in weight loss will increase your chances of success.