EXCESS WEIGHT, OBESITY AND THE CLINICAL
OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
weight and obesity can damage the cardiovascular system in a
number of ways and lead to an increased risk of a heart attack
DYSLIPIDEMIA. A blood fat disorder which consists mainly of
high triglycerides and low HDL “good” cholesterol that fosters
plaque build-up in artery walls.
ARTERIOSCLEROSIS. Hardening of the walls of the arteries, making
them brittle, thick and inflexible, thereby increasing the risk
of a stroke.
ATHEROSCLEROSIS. The build-up of
Fat tissue "is not like an inert storage depot it's a very dynamic organ that is actually producing hormones and chemical messengers," said Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. These substances can damage blood vessels, increase the risk of blood clots and cause insulin resistance that makes people prone to diabetes all without elevating blood pressure or cholesterol.
fatty deposits in the arteries, which interfere with blood flow
by narrowing the circumference of the arteries. This condition
can begin early in life and then progress as you age, leading
to Cardiovascular Disease.
The process begins with damage in the endothelium (inner layer
of the artery) followed by plaque build-up. Insulin causes the
primary injury to the vessel lining initiating a cascade of
chemical factors to the area. These chemical changes affect the
integrity and function of the vessel over time and the damage
may stimulate the artery wall cells to produce other substances
that result in further build-up of plaque.
These cells and surrounding material significantly thicken the
endothelium. When the plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms and
blocks the artery, stopping the flow of blood. Proven causes of
damage to the arterial wall are elevated levels of cholesterol
and triglycerides, hypertension (high blood pressure) and
HYPERINSULINEMIA. This disorder occurs when insulin
progressively loses its effectiveness in sweeping the glucose
from the blood stream into the 67 trillion or so cells
that constitute our bodies. Insulin levels in the blood rapidly
rise to damaging levels and, together with the resulting
elevated glucose levels, account for much of the damage to the
HYPERTENSION. Also known as high blood pressure,
hypertension is a condition commonly associated with narrowing
of the arteries. This causes blood to be pumped with excessive
force against the artery walls. It is a sign that the heart and
blood vessels are being overworked. Untreated, high blood
pressure will cause the heart to eventually overwork itself to
the point where serious damage can occur. For instance, the
heart muscle can thicken (hypertrophy) and function abnormally,
or dilate and contract less forcefully (dilated cardiomyopathy).
High blood pressure can cause injury to the brain, the eyes (retinopathy)
and/or the kidneys (nephropathy). Hypertensive patients are also at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
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