Heart Healthy Habits: Does Weight Affect Heart Health?
If you are struggling with being overweight, you know that more underlying health conditions may follow. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart health related problems can occur. Heart healthy habits can prevent and reverse some of these conditions.
Heart disease is a slow attacker to the whole body. Not only do diabetes and high blood pressure get involved, but down the road, heart failure is on the line. Read our guide to learn more about heart diseases and how to prevent them.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a number of abnormal conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels in the heart. There are many different types of heart disease, but common forms include coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmia. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease, a narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries, which is the major reason why people have heart attacks.
Different Types of Heart Disease.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is the most common type of heart disease.
It develops when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged with plaque, and this causes them to harden and narrow. Plaque contains cholesterol and other substances.
Congenital Heart Defects
A person with a congenital heart defect is born with a heart problem. There are many types of congenital heart defects, including:
- Atypical heart valves: Valves may not open properly, or they may leak blood.
- Septal defects: There is a hole in the wall between the lower chambers of the heart's upper chambers.
- Atresia: One of the heart valves is missing.
Congenital heart disease can involve major structural issues, such as the absence of a ventricle or problems with unusual connections between the main arteries that leave the heart.
Arrhythmia refers to an irregular heartbeat. It occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate the heartbeat do not work correctly. As a result, the heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or erratically.
In dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart chambers become dilated, meaning that the heart muscle stretches and becomes thinner. The most common causes of dilated cardiomyopathy are previous heart attacks, arrhythmias, and toxins, but genetics can also play a role.
Also known as heart attack, myocardial infarction involves interrupting the blood flow to the heart, damaging or destroying a part of the heart muscle.
The most common cause of heart attack is plaque, a blood clot, or both in a coronary artery. It can also occur if an artery suddenly narrows or spasms.
How Heart Health and Weight Are Connected.
Heart failure is caused by the organ's inability to keep up with its natural functions. While there are multiple causes of heart failure, obesity is one of the main causes found in humans.
Instead of assuming obesity leads to high blood pressure or diabetes, then heart failure, instead, there are recent studies that point to obesity as a primary cause of heart failure.
How Doctors Know Obesity Risks.
Injured heart muscle cells release an enzyme called troponin T. Doctors measure this in the blood when someone is suspected of having a heart attack. New, highly sensitive lab tests can measure troponin at much lower levels.
They found that higher BMI was strongly linked to higher troponin levels. Over 12 years, those who were the most obese (BMI of 35 or higher) developed the most heart failure. So did those who had the highest levels of troponin. And those who were both the most obese and had high troponin levels were nine times more likely to develop heart failure than those who had normal weight and undetectable troponin, the researchers reported in a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.
Even if you are slightly overweight, the signs of heart failure were found. The more weight you carried, the more of a risk you endured.
Why You Should Watch the Weight.
Patients and doctors sometimes assume everything is okay, even if only a little extra weight is carried. This isn't always the case. It is important to take weight and heart health very seriously. There are such things as silent heart failure. This particular muscle is temperamental, and even the slightest extra weight can be detrimental to someone's health.
You can't change certain risk factors for heart disease. For example, you can't change your family history. But you can change your weight. If you reduce your weight by just 10 percent with diet and exercise, you can begin to lower your risk of developing heart disease and other obesity-related health problems.
In addition to managing your weight, you can reduce your chances of developing heart disease by controlling other related risk factors. Talk to your healthcare provider about controlling your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol, quitting smoking, and getting enough exercise.
It is important to stay on top of your overall heart and general health. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering staying on a healthy track.
Try to Lose or Control Your Weight.
The effectiveness of weight loss and controlled weight will benefit your health in the long run. If you maintain your weight or lose the extra weight, you will have less of a chance of heart failure.
Know Your Heart Health.
If you are concerned about your risk of heart failure, you should take exercising and dieting seriously. It is also good to find out all of your numbers and be assessed by a doctor. The numbers that you are looking to get and stay on top of are your BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Unfortunately, most annual physicals only include basic lipid panels as part of their “one-size-fits-all” approach. The team at Index Health makes sure you know exactly how to target your heart attack and stroke risk, by using more advanced vascular markers, such as ApoB, LDL-P, hsCRP, ADMA, amongst others.
Watch For Signs of Heart Failure.
You should also be wary of the signs of heart failure, and it is a good idea to watch out for them if you are concerned. The typical signs of being on the lookout are fatigue, shortness of breath, and increased/ irregular heartbeat.
Heart Healthy Habits.
Learn Your Health History
It’s important to know your genetic history. Why would you make the same plan for one person vs. the other? Consider talking to our team at Index Health, to decide which genomics assessment would be the most impactful for you. Make sure to talk to your doctor and family about your history, to put together a plan to keep your heart healthy.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Another way to keep your heart healthy is by making healthy food choices. Make sure to include all the major food groups. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Some things that you should avoid are high amounts of salt, saturated fat, and added sugar.
Exercise, regardless of heart disease, is important. You should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week and strength training at least 2 times a week.
If you want to take incorporating exercise into your life seriously, working out 4-5 days a week will be more beneficial.
Smoking won't help your heart, lungs, or for you to live a healthy life. Call 1-800-quit-now for free help and take the first step on your journey to quit.
Take Medicine Responsibly
If you take medicine to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
Rethink Your Drink
Substitute water for sugary drinks to reduce calories. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation by limiting consumption to no more than 1 drink a day on days that alcohol is consumed.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Self-measured blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use, and your doctor can show you how to use one if you need help.
How Index Clinic Can Help You.
We have a wide variety of health care options that we can provide. The focus on weight issues and heart health is one of them. We help you understand hypertension, diabetes, pre-diabetes, weight optimization, abnormal cholesterol levels, metabolic syndrome, and proactive planning.
How Our Program Works
- Comprehensive Heart Health Analysis
We use advanced lab tests & tools that other doctors don't use to uncover the root cause of your heart & weight issues.
2. Personalized Plan From Your Doctor
The labs & screening tell us whether you're on a path to becoming a diabetic, your heart disease and stroke risk within 10-15 years, & how to plan & prevent proactively.
3. Heart Health with progress tracking and Ongoing Support
With proactive 30-60min appointments, Advanced Primary Care, unlimited messaging, and mini-visits when you need them, we make sure that you achieve your health goals.
Contact Index Clinic
Remember that we are here to help you get on the right track to a happy, healthy life. Whether you are worried about heart disease, want to prevent it, or don’t know what to look out for, you are in the right place.
We have multiple programs that can help you get on the right track. Keep in mind that having a clean diet and keeping the extra weight off is a great step in the right direction. Keep your heart health in the right direction, and optimize the plan for your health future.