How Does Obesity Cause Heart Failure?

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Obesity and heart failure are closely intertwined. More than 160 million people in the US are overweight or obese, while more than 5.7 million adults struggle with heart failure.

These numbers should come as no surprise. Obesity is often responsible for a wide range of underlying conditions that lie at the root of cardiovascular disease.

At its core, the link between obesity and heart failure is intricate. Not only can obesity trigger many of the risk factors that may increase the risk for heart failure, but it can also lead to a host of additional complications.


What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure occurs when the heart stops pumping blood efficiently. Heart failure is often brought on by high blood pressure and narrowed arteries. Both of these conditions are common amongst people who are obese.

Conditions that cause heart failure can’t always be cured outright, but symptoms can be significantly improved through behavior modification. Reducing sodium intake, exercising, eating healthy, and losing weight can greatly improve cardiovascular disease and obesity symptoms.

Decrease Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Simply put, obesity is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease. Excessive body fat has often been linked to ventricular enlargement, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, atrial enlargement, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis – all diseases contribute to heart failure.

Weight management is key when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease. Losing weight should be your top priority. Not only will you reduce your risk of heart failure, but you’ll also improve your overall quality of life.


Tips to Improve Heart Health

Improving cardiovascular disease comes down to one thing – self-care. While nothing can be done about certain risk factors such as family history, age, or sex, you can still take measures to lessen your risk for heart failure.

Let’s take a look at a few tips.


1. Exercise Regularly Throughout the Week

Establishing a regular exercise regimen will help you manage your weight and decrease your risk of developing heart complications.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.

You can break down many of your workout sessions into three separate 10-minute workout intervals and still receive the same health benefits as longer workout sessions.


2. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking, overeating, or smoking. It can also result in weight gain. Though coping with stress can be difficult, it’s crucial to find alternative methods of dealing with stressful situations.

Try meditation, exercise, or creative activities to help de-stress. Not only are many of these alternatives effective for relieving stress, but they can also be beneficial to the body and mind.


3. Get Enough Sleep

Believe it or not, not getting enough quality sleep can increase your risk of depression, high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It’s widely recommended that most adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Create a sleep schedule and try to stick to it as faithfully as you can. If you don’t feel rejuvenated after waking up in the morning, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.

If you feel you’re getting adequate sleep but still feel sluggish when you get out of bed, then you should visit your doctor to see if additional factors may be at play.

People who struggle with sleep commonly suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles in the throat constrict and block your ability to breathe properly while sleeping. Your doctor should be able to identify any possible conditions you may be struggling with.

A woman holding a heart shaped bowl filled with fruits and veggies.

4. Change Your Diet

You should always be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Poor diet is a major contributing factor to heart failure. Even a gradual transition to a heart-healthy diet can make a massive difference.

Heart-healthy food recommendations include:

  • Fish
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Beans
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Foods to avoid or reduce:

  • Bakery products
  • Deep-fried food
  • Margarine
  • Packaged snacks
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Red meat
  • Fast food

Avoid foods with saturated, monounsaturated, trans, and polyunsaturated fat. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.


5. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is one of the primary contributors to heart disease. Obesity can lead to an increased chance of developing crippling conditions that can lower your quality of life, which could ultimately lead to heart failure.

Losing weight – even a small amount of weight – can be beneficial to your heart health. With that being said, the more weight you lose, the better. One way you can do this is by adopting a healthy diet and exercising every day.

Sometimes, however, more significant measures need to be taken. Bariatric surgery is a viable option for people who fail to lose weight on their own despite their best efforts. It’s one of the most effective methods for losing significant weight efficiently.


Protect Your Heart With Olde Del Mar Surgical

If you struggle with obesity, you are at risk of experiencing heart failure. It’s important to note obesity is a disease, and it can be treated like any disease. Lifestyle changes, including exercise and a healthy diet, are a requirement if you’re serious about losing weight and reducing your risk of heart failure.

For those at their wit’s end, we recommend weight loss surgery. At Olde Del Mar Surgical, we’re here to help. We’ll walk with you every step of the way during your weight loss journey. Contact us today for more information.

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