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Being Obese is Enough to Raise Heart Disease Risk

Update Date: Nov 12, 2013 09:55 AM EST
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According to some studies, some overweight or obese people can be considered relatively healthy. These researchers believe that if an overweight person has a healthy exercise routine and does not have any chronic health issues, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, he or she can be considered metabolically healthy. However, in a newer study, researches concluded that simply being overweight or obese is enough to raise one's risk of heart disease.

For this study, the research team composed of Borge G. Nordestgaard, M.D., D. M.Sc., and Mette Thomsen, M.D., from Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, reviewed medical data on 71,527 people who were a part of a general population study. The data included a four-year follow-up, which allowed the researchers to identify 634 cases of myocardial infarction (MI), also known as a heart attack and 1,781 cases of ischemic heart disease (IHD).

The researchers found that when they compared these cases to people with normal weight, they concluded that obesity contributed to an increased risk of MI and IHD. The team also stated that weight increased MI regardless of any metabolic syndrome differences between overweight and obese people. Metabolic syndrome is a condition that encompasses high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. This condition can increase an overweight or obese individual's risk of heart attack and heart disease by 12 to 26 percent. The researchers believe that in order to maintain a healthy heart, diet, exercise and a healthy weight are vital.

"It is being overweight and obesity that are the real causes of heart attack and disease," Nordestgaard said according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "Thus, you don't need to examine for the metabolic syndrome to tell whether a person is at increased risk of heart attack. Just looking at them or measuring their body mass index is sufficient."

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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