You have heard it all before – lose weight to stay healthy. But did you know that it’s your heart that will suffer under all the weight? Here are a few facts about weight and your heart.
This is the medical word synonymous with being overweight. You can also be morbidly obese if your BMI (body mass index) number is off the charts. Some think being overweight is about looking or not looking good. It is more than that, way more than that.
Normal BMI is between 20 and 25. You are overweight if you have a BMI between 25.1 and 30. Obesity comes if you are over 30.1. What do these numbers mean?
If you are carrying too much weight for your height and age, you are at risk for many other diseases. First of all, your heart has to pump harder to get blood through your circulatory system when you have excess body fat. Simply moving around or walking up a flight of stairs takes more effort and makes your heart work harder.
Obesity is an epidemic in this country – not only among adults but also among children. Children who are obese are at risk for heart disease risk factors early on in life.
One risk factor that can be caused by obesity is high blood pressure. Your blood pressure gets higher because of all the fat you are carrying on your body. Add to that unhealthy eating and you increase your cholesterol stores. If it’s good cholesterol that’s one thing, but it is usually bad cholesterol that is rising.
When your level of LDL cholesterol is raised, there is a greater risk of plaque formation in the vessels. Combine that with high blood pressure and you can have a traveling blood clot or plaque in your system. These roaming troublemakers can get lodged in a smaller vessel stopping blood flow. This can cause pain in limbs and also a heart attack in a coronary vessel.
Increases in blood sugar levels in the body can lead to diabetes, another risk factor for heart disease. All of this contributes to weakened and stressed blood vessels that are carrying your blood.
Turning it all Around
Losing weight is not easy, but it is a risk factor that causes others to come into play. On the flip side, reducing your weight can reverse those other risk factors as well.
Maintaining a healthy weight restores your body to balance. Blood sugar is no longer out of whack, which can cause insulin levels to return to normal. Your heart rate and pressure will lower as your body becomes better conditioned. With higher levels of HDL from eating better food sources, bad cholesterol doesn’t have a chance to gum up artery walls.
You didn’t gain it overnight so you won’t lose it that fast either, but you will improve your health one day at a time if you start now. Lower your weight and save your heart.
Hope you are enjoying the Healthy Heart Series.
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