EXCESS WEIGHT, OBESITY AND CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
weight and obesity greatly increase the likelihood of developing
coronary artery disease (CAD). This latter disorder occurs when
the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle become
narrowed. The deterioration is a process called atherosclerosis
and is caused by a build-up of plaque on the inner walls or
linings of medium-sized and large arteries.
Plaque, which consists of a substance containing cholesterol,
calcium, clotting proteins and other compounds, reduces the
circumference of the arteries, impeding blood flow to the heart
and oxygen supply to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease
and the leading cause of death in the U.S. in both men and
women. When blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart are
reduced or cut off, you can develop:
Angina - chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart
is not getting enough blood.
Heart attack - this happens when a blood clot suddenly cuts off
most or all blood supply to part of the heart. Cells in the
heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood
begin to die. This can cause permanent damage to the heart
muscle. Over time, coronary artery disease can weaken your heart
Heart Failure - this occurs when the heart is not able to pump
blood to the rest of the body effectively. Heart failure does
not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop
working. But it does mean that your heart is failing to pump
blood the way that it should.
Arrhythmia - changes in the normal rhythm of your heartbeats,
some of which can be quite serious.
Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) - an underlying
cause of coronary artery disease, this disorder is characterized
by a group of risk factors that include:
Abdominal obesity - excessive fat tissue in and around the
Atherogenic dyslipidemia - blood fat disorders like high
triglycerides, low HDL "good" cholesterol and high LDL "bad"
cholesterol which foster plaque build-up in artery walls
Elevated blood pressure
Insulin Resistance - an underlying factor in obesity caused by
the body's inability to properly use blood sugar and insulin
Prothrombotic state - the presence of high fibrinogen or plasminogen
activator inhibitor–1 in the blood stream
Proinflammatory state - the presence of elevated C-reactive
protein in the blood
Metabolic Syndrome sufferers are at increased risk of
Cardiovascular Disease as well as coronary artery disease and
other disorders related to plaque build-up. These include stroke and
peripheral vascular disease, as well as Pre- and Type 2
Diabetes. More than 50 million Americans are estimated to have
Excess weight gain and obesity caused by the glucose and insulin
imbalance called Insulin Resistance are key risk factors for
Metabolic Syndrome. The American Heart Association and the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute advise that Metabolic
Syndrome sufferers can be identified by having three or more of
Elevated waist circumference:
Men - Equal to or greater than 40 inches (102 cm)
Women - Equal to or greater than 35 inches (88 cm)
Equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL
Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol:
Men - Less than 40 mg/dL
Women - Less than 50 mg/dL
Elevated blood pressure:
Equal to or greater than 130/85 mm Hg
Elevated fasting glucose:
At least 110 mg/dL
The primary goal of someone suffering from excess weight and
obesity-linked Metabolic Syndrome is to reduce the risk for
coronary artery disease, Cardiovascular Disease and
Pre-Diabetes. The latter is a reversible condition which, if
neglected, can lead to irreversible Type 2 Diabetes and may
require daily insulin injections for life. Type
2 Diabetes significantly increases the risk for blindness,
amputation and kidney disease.
Lifestyle changes are crucial to reduce Cardiovascular Disease
risks like LDL "bad" cholesterol, hypertension (high blood
pressure) and unbalanced glucose and insulin levels.
There is no one pill to counter excess weight and obesity . A
complete system is required to reverse this condition - one that
includes nutraceuticals (vitamins, herbs and minerals that are
disease-specific), a realistic exercise program combined with
nutritional guidance and a support network that will help you
change unhealthy lifestyle choices. Together, these factors can
Weight loss to achieve a desirable BMI (Body Mass Index) of
less than 25 kg/m2
Increased physical activity, with an ultimate goal of at
least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 3-5 days per
Healthy eating habits that include reduced intake of saturated
fat, trans-fat and cholesterol
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Vitamin C, which reduces damage to arteries and arterioles.
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"Obesity is no longer an American disease. Globalization's bounty—economic development, lowered trade costs, and rising incomes—has turned it into a worldwide pandemic for rich and poor alike. If it's left unchecked, the economic health of developing countries will surely be crushed under the weight."
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"There is a clear and consistent scientific literature showing pervasive bias against overweight people. It is logical that the bias begets discrimination. There is now sufficient evidence of discrimination to suggest it may be powerful and occurs across important areas of living.
Studies on employment have shown hiring prejudice in laboratory studies. Subjects report being less inclined to hire an overweight person than a thin person, even with identical qualifications. Individuals make negative inferences about obese persons in the workplace, feeling that such people are lazy, lack self-discipline, and are less competent. One might expect these attributions to affect wages, promotions, and disciplinary actions, and such seems to be the case.
Overweight women, for the same work, receive less pay than their thin counterparts. This does not seem to be the case for men, but overweight men sort themselves into lower-level jobs. There is evidence that promotion prospects are dimmer for overweight individuals, and there are many examples of people being fired on account of excess weight."
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"Middle-age people who are overweight but have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels are kidding themselves if they think their health is just fine."
"Northwestern University researchers tracked 17,643 patients for three decades and found that being overweight in mid-life substantially increased the risk of dying of heart disease later in life even in people who began the study with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels."
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"The United States is experiencing an epidemic of obesity. Thirty-four percent of adults are overweight and an additional 30% are obese. Thus, 2 of every 3 Americans have an unhealthy body weight. Obesity contributes to over 300,000 deaths per year, principally through its association with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers. Obesity currently is the second leading cause of preventable death and will soon surpass cigarette smoking, the leading cause. Health economists estimate that obesity costs our nation approximately $100 billion a year. And these figures say nothing about the personal suffering of those affected by obesity."
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