I would define myself as a
pretty inquisitive person, and I feel like there are so many unanswered
questions I have about health in general and even my own weight loss journey.
Luckily, I have access to so
many great resources at The Christ Hospital Health Network (and so do you, to
be honest) and I can get some of those questions answered.
I was thinking, what does
obesity really do to your heart? We’ve all heard that being overweight isn’t
the greatest for your heart health, but what does that really mean? I got the
opportunity to chat with cardiologist Dr. Joel Forman on my ‘Pound This’
podcast to ask this question.
I asked Joel Forman, MD, “When I
weighed more than 100 pounds heavier, what was that really doing to my heart?”
Dr. Forman said, “It has both direct effects on your heart and effects on risk
factors in addition to other health problems. I mean, it increases the risk of
cancers and liver disease and all kinds of arthritis. When we look at risk
factors of heart disease, the two that we are falling behind on that we had
made tremendous progress in are diabetes and obesity, which go together. And
obesity is very important for cardiac disease because it is associated with the
risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease. So with diabetes, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol.”
Dr. Forman added, “In terms of
structural things, it essentially causes strain on your heart. It causes inflammation
and increased risk of heart failure. People who are obese have larger amounts
of epicardia. In other words, fat on top of the heart, which is associated with
an arrhythmia that causes stroke.”
I also wanted to know, from
the standpoint of a cardiologist and working with the public on a daily basis,
if obesity is a major factor in heart issues Dr. Forman sees. He said, “Every
single day. 70 percent of disease in this country is caused by lifestyle. We are
completely numb to what obesity is. A body mass index that is greater than 30
is found in the majority of people that I see in my practice, and it is the
minority of people that are within normal range.”
Knowing that, let’s talk
solutions! Dr. Forman’s best advice is to focus on being healthy and healthy
decisions. Things like, managing stress, getting good sleep, getting some
exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables are all important. He says it’s
best to focus on your health rather than your weight. It’s more important to be
healthy, and in most cases, those healthy decisions will help you lose weight.
Click to learn more about how our heart and vascular experts can help you or a loved one.