Credit: © Voyagerix / Fotolia

Credit: © Voyagerix / Fotolia

Just a few extra pounds can increase heart failure risk

Just a few extra pounds can increase heart failure risk, according to brand new research from the American Heart Association.

According to the new study, gaining just a little weight over time can change the structure and function of heart muscle, which can increase risk of heart failure.

The American Heart Association reports:

Researchers followed 1,262 adults (average age 44, 57 percent women, 44 percent black, 36 percent obese) who were free from heart disease and other conditions that put them at high risk for heart disease for seven years. Participants had MRIs scans of their hearts and multiple body fat measurements at the start of the study and then seven years later.

The researchers found that those who gained weight:

• even as little as 5 percent, were more likely to have thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle, well-established indicators of future heart failure;

• were more likely to exhibit subtle decreases in their hearts’ pumping ability;

• and were more likely to exhibit changes in heart muscle appearance and function that persisted even after the researchers eliminated other factors that could affect heart muscle performance and appearance, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use.

Also, people who lost weight had a greater chance of decreasing heart muscle thickness.

Any weight gain may lead to detrimental changes in the heart above and beyond the effects of baseline weight so that prevention should focus on weight loss or if meaningful weight loss cannot be achieved — the focus should be on weight stability,” said Ian Neeland, M.D., study senior author and a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. “Counseling to maintain weight stability, even in the absence of weight loss, may be an important preventive strategy among high-risk individuals.”

The study showing that just a few extra pounds can increase heart failure risk was published in the Journal Of The American Heart Association.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Gaining a Few Pounds May Increase Long-term Heart Failure Risk.” American Heart Association. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 24 July 2017.
2. “Dynamic Relation of Changes in Weight and Indices of Fat Distribution With Cardiac Structure and Function: The Dallas Heart Study.” Journal of the American Heart Association. American Heart Association, Inc., 01 July 2017. Web. 24 July 2017.

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