Benefits of Losing Weight for your Heart Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled obesity an epidemic and a crisis; two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight, making them more vulnerable to severe and potentially deadly health problems.
Heart health experts have seen a fair amount of weight-related cardiovascular problems, which is the reason for wanting to raise awareness of this significant threat.
Rather than list all the health issues related to obesity or being overweight, we will take a more positive approach by explaining the most significant health benefits of losing weight.
Before we dive into the specific health benefits of weight loss, let’s emphasize that weight loss is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Not only can breaking weight loss into smaller, more achievable steps lead to more success, but the CDC also reports that losing just five to ten percent of your total body weight can significantly improve your health. For example, losing five to ten percent of your body weight can reduce your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Health Benefits Of Losing Weight
We, cardiologists, want to focus on health benefits that directly affect cardiovascular health. For example, we previously reported that losing five to ten percent of body weight can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Still, now we want to dig a little deeper into why these reductions are significant.
Health Benefits Of Losing Weight
Overweight and obesity are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease because they directly affect the function and structure of the heart; fat cells actively release hormones and biochemicals that affect your metabolism and lead to inflammation throughout the body. As a result, you are at an increased risk of having health issues. In addition, when carrying too much weight, your diet is likely to be full of unhealthy food that can cause blood vessels to narrow. With this buildup of fat in the blood vessels, blood must travel through smaller and smaller spaces, putting pressure on the blood vessel walls.
By embarking on a personalized weight loss program, you can learn how to avoid unhealthy food, which can lower your blood pressure and encourage your blood to flow more freely and efficiently.
Your cholesterol numbers include low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels. These numbers are complicated because you want your low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride numbers to be lower, but your high-density lipoprotein numbers to be higher.
One of the best ways to attack high cholesterol numbers and achieve proper balance is to improve your diet and lose weight. When you eliminate unhealthy fats and sugary foods from your diet, your cholesterol numbers can reflect these efforts.
Improve Or Avoid Diabetes
When you carry too much weight, you have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition in which your body becomes resistant to insulin and cannot produce enough hormones to overcome the resistance. This situation can lead to poor regulation of your blood sugar levels, which can have severe repercussions, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
Weight loss can help you avoid insulin resistance and a diabetes diagnosis. Even if you have previously been diagnosed with diabetes, losing weight can help prevent the serious cardiovascular and neurological complications mentioned above.
One of the clues to losing weight is exercise, but exercise can be challenging if you’re carrying extra pounds. When engaging in a weight loss program, you will be amazed to discover that your capacity to exercise will increase with every pound you lose; you will accelerate your weight loss and boost your training. Happening this, in turn, does wonders for your heart health, as exercise can go a long way toward preventing heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Of course, losing weight has many more benefits, but the above illustrates the power of weight loss in your health. Contact your doctor to schedule a consultation if you want to take charge of your health through a weight loss program.
The connection between obesity and your heart health is strong: carrying extra weight leads directly to cholesterol imbalances, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions are not only weighty but can be life-threatening, so you should do what you can to limit these risks. Given the link between your weight and cardiovascular health, one of the best ways to start is through weight loss. For extra motivation, let’s take a closer look at the risks of carrying too much weight. Then, we will discuss how addressing these risks through weight loss can improve your heart health. Your weight and heart health have a direct connection; several ways being obese, or overweight can affect your heart health, including cholesterol problems, higher blood pressure leading to hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, among others.
When you are overweight or obese, your cholesterol levels can become unbalanced. What we mean by imbalance is that your bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels may go up, while your good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) levels may go down. Since your body relies on good cholesterol to remove bad cholesterol from your body, an increase in bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol means that your blood has too much cholesterol circulating, which can build up inside your blood vessels.
Higher Blood Pressure
When carrying extra pounds, your body requires more oxygen, which pushes your cardiovascular system to work harder. Unfortunately, this additional workload puts more pressure on artery walls, leading to hypertension.
Hypertension does not cause symptoms, and it develops gradually. Therefore, you should ensure your blood pressure is under control since you may have had hypertension for years without knowing it. In the meantime, the disease is progressively damaging your blood vessels. Unfortunately, the first symptom of hypertension is often a serious threat to your health, such as a heart attack or stroke. If your hypertension reaches life-threatening levels, you may experience headaches, confusion, dizziness, and chest pain.
Cardiologists work closely with each patient to create personalized treatment regimens to prevent and deal with hypertension. The first course of treatment starts with a lifestyle program to change the danger factors that promote hypertension. After a doctor assesses your overall health and lifestyle, your treatment may include a diet and exercise plan, guidance to manage weight loss or help to find ways to reduce your stress.
Patients with mild to moderate hypertension may only need lifestyle changes, like losing weight, to reduce their blood pressure to a safe range. However, suppose your blood pressure is dangerously high, and lifestyle changes and weight loss are not lowering it enough, your doctor will have to prescribe one of several possible medications to reduce your hypertension.
If you need your blood pressure monitored, or require assistance controlling hypertension, contact your doctor, schedule an appointment, don’t let time pass and take control of your heart health.
Type 2 Diabetes
Obesity is the main contributor to type 2 diabetes; thirty to fifty-three percent of new cases yearly in the United States have a connection to obesity. Furthermore, when you have diabetes, your chances of heart disease grow. Illustrating this point, nearly seventy percent of people over sixty-five who have diabetes also have heart disease.
There are other ways weight can affect your heart health, but the examples above paint a pretty clear picture.
Getting off a little weight goes a long way; when you have obesity, we understand that weight loss can appear like a daunting task. However, it is important to stress that losing only five to ten percent of your overall body weight can positively affect your heart health. If you hit a bump in the road, don’t quit and motivate yourself, you are more likely to succeed in reaching your weight loss goal and maintaining your target weight with the help of medical professionals who care about your well-being.
Whether this is your first diet or you have been struggling for years to lose weight, your possibilities of success are better when you have the tools you need to stay energized and positive while dieting and exercising. Experienced physicians can work one-on-one with each patient, creating personalized plans and recommending programs that provide the nutritional and wellness support needed.
Exercise strengthens the heart, and it helps pump more blood with each heartbeat; this brings more oxygen into the body, and with more oxygen, the body functions more efficiently. Exercise can accelerate weight loss when you combine it with a healthy diet. Regular exercise builds lean muscle, which burns more calories than fat. An active metabolism helps you burn calories faster, even when sitting still.
Aerobic exercise encourages breathing deeper, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood. Aerobic exercising also elevates your heart rate, which burns calories. Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, running, dancing, swimming, and bicycling.
Your doctor may suggest a different exercise regimen depending on your health. For example, alternate exercise days with rest days or days when you do another type of exercise; this will help prevent injuries.
Weight loss or weight control, plus exercising, is the best combination for a healthy heart and lifestyle. Take care of your health.
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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.