Obesity And Heart Disease

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 19 May 2022

Obesity and Heart Conditions

Atherosclerosis and Body Weight

You don't just look and feel better when you lose weight. It also causes positive changes within your arteries.

Blood travels from your heart to the rest of the body through your arteries. Your coronary arteries are particularly important because they supply blood to your heart muscle.

Your arteries must be safe in order to perform this task. Atherosclerosis occurs as blood vessels widen and become less flexible as plaque builds up within them. It's really dangerous because it can result in a heart attack or stroke.

Atherosclerosis is more likely when you gain weight. As a result, one of the best things you can do for your heart is to get in shape.

Atherosclerosis and Fat

It's more than just the numbers on the scale. It's also important to know where your fat is stored.

Measure the waist at the belly button with a tape measure. If you're a woman with a waist size of 35 inches or a guy with a waist size of 40 inches or more, you're more likely to develop atherosclerosis.

Fat is necessary for good health, but too much of it causes the lining of your arteries to fail to function properly. This increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

Blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, are often increased by excess fat.

Lose Weight, Lower Your Risk

Losing weight reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other circulatory issues.

Numerous factors that contribute to weight loss, such as physical activity and consuming nutritious foods, are important. You'll develop:

  • Healthier, more “elastic" blood vessels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of “good" HDL cholesterol
  • Lower levels of “bad" LDL cholesterol
  • Lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes

Consult your doctor about what your ideal weight should be, what diet recommendations they recommend (such as sodium and fat limits), what forms of exercise are appropriate for you, and how quickly you can expect to see results.

Additionally, if you smoke, make every effort to kick the habit. Smoking increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Smoking exacerbates atherosclerosis in those who already have it. Where possible, avoid other people's smoke (secondhand smoke).


Referenced on 1/5/2021

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is Atherosclerosis?" “Who Is At Risk for Atherosclerosis?" “How Can Atherosclerosis Be Prevented or Delayed?"
  2. American Heart Association: “Atherosclerosis."
  3. Coronary heart disease. (n.d.).
  4. Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. (2017).
  5. Family history and other characteristics that increase for heart disease. (2015).
  6. How much physical activity do adults need? (2015).
  7. How to help prevent heart disease — at any age. (2017).
  8. What are the risk factors for heart disease? (2017).
  9. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/atherosclerosis-whats-weight-got-to-do-with-it

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