If you thought obesity and a greater waist circumference raised your risk of heart disease, you’re right, but if you’re already in heart failure those same factors could actually work in your favour.
A UCLA study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that in both men and women with advanced heart failure, obesity and a higher waist circumference put them at less risk for adverse outcomes such as death, the need to have a heart transplant or ventricular assist device placement.
Researchers say the study’s findings offer some insight into what’s called the "obesity paradox"; whereby obesity is a known risk factor for developing heart disease, but once heart failure has manifested, obesity may provide protective benefits. According to Dr. Tamara Horwich, senior author and assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, "Heart failure may prove to be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective."
Horwich could not offer an explicit reason as to why the obesity paradox exists for heat failure patients, but one possible explanation is that obese patients present in heart failure at an earlier state due to "increased symptoms and functional impairment caused by excess body weight." This means they could be getting help sooner, improving their overall outcome, reports Science Daily.
This information isn’t a pass to eat a greasy cheeseburger at every meal though’it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight and waist circumference to reduce your chances of ever going into heart failure. And the fact remains: obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, with many Canadians at risk. According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, nearly 60 percent of adults and 26 percent of children are overweight or obese. Heart disease is currently the second leading cause of death in Canada, accounting for approximately 21 percent of deaths.