It has been said that obesity is among the worst diseases because it can cause so many others. Obesity is also one of the most common diseases in the developed world. We feel that most people can benefit from learning about the link between obesity and heart disease so they can understand why maintaining a healthy weight is so important.
What is Obesity?
Obesity occurs when a person has so much excess body fat that it becomes a medical problem. Roughly a third of the American population is obese because modern lifestyles make it so easy to gain weight.
In practical terms, we can determine if a person is obese or not by looking at their body mass index, or BMI. We can calculate that number by looking at the individual’s height and weight. It isn’t a perfect system, especially for older individuals who have lost some of their muscle mass over time or for athletes, but it works well for the average person. An individual with a BMI of at least 30 is obese.
What are Cardiovascular Diseases?
Cardiovascular disease covers a group of conditions that involve the heart and blood vessels. These diseases tend to be highly dangerous and they can even be lethal. Ultimately, most of these conditions cause problems because they prevent the body from getting enough blood to function. Heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats are all common examples of these diseases.
How Obesity Impacts Cardiovascular Health
Obesity makes most forms of cardiovascular disease more likely. It does that in a few different ways.
At the most basic level, the extra weight forces the heart to do more work. It can also cause problems by increasing the risk of developing many other factors that make heart disease more likely. High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and even diabetes have been linked to obesity. They cause problems on their own while also increasing the risk of severe cardiovascular issues.
Cardiovascular disease is always a major medical issue. It is best to think of it as a chronic condition because it can lead to significant and lasting challenges.
In the short term, cardiovascular disease often causes pain, dizziness, and other symptoms that can make it difficult to function on a daily basis. Some forms can also make it difficult to exercise to stay healthy.
In the long term, heart disease is often fatal. It is a leading cause of death in the modern world. People who live with it can experience severe stress from the knowledge that they are at risk of the disease.
Managing the Risk
The good news is that it is possible to address the problem and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. We think that almost everyone can benefit from taking a look at their diet and lifestyle to make sure they can maintain a healthy weight. Those who already are obese can often benefit from lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet and exercising more frequently. Bariatric surgery can also be an option in some cases. The best way to work out a treatment plan is to get in touch with a doctor who can assess the case and go through the options to find a good solution.