It’s been proven that being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease. A recent research study in Denmark studied the link between excess body weight and the increased risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD): Body Mass Index (BMI) and Heart Disease. The researchers used the BMI as a means to determine excess body weight.
What is Ischemic Heart Disease?
Ischemic heart disease is caused by an accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the artery they can restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. When the supply of blood and oxygen decreases, pain (angina) can occur and the risk of a heart attack, due to the lack of oxygen (ischemia) can occur.
In this particular study, researchers found that for every four-point increase in an individual’s BMI, there was a 26 percent increased risk of IHD. For example, an obese person with a BMI of 32 would be 52 percent more likely to develop IHD, than someone with a BMI of 24.
What are other Risk Factors?
There is increased risk for mortality when the following are present:
- high blood pressure,
- elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, lower HDL levels,
- elevated blood sugar levels, and
The majority of these risk factors are attributed to being overweight. The research shows that maintaining a healthy weight and BMI can reduce the risk of IHD. A person who is 5’8″tall and weighs 180 pounds has a BMI of 27.4. A weight loss of lost 25 pounds would drop his or her BMI to 23.6, an almost-four-point drop, and reduce the risk of a heart attack by 25 percent.
Other Lifestyle Modifications to Reduce Risk
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Add exercise – it can be as simple as walking briskly for 30 minutes or more at least 5 times per week
- Minimize consumption of red meat
- Consume three or more servings of whole grains daily
- Introducing small quantities of nuts into your diet (Omega 3 and other nutrients
- Not smoking
Take Control of Your Health!