Fat but Fit: Fact or Myth?
Some people call it fat, but fit. Many physicians refer to it at the obesity paradox. Either way, researchers are now warning people who have a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher, yet who aren’t suffering from health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, they could still be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Obesity by itself in absence of other risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, has a very high risk to develop heart problems or stroke problems or heart failure problems,” said Dr. Sudhir Mungee, Interventional Cardiologist, OSF HealthCare Cardiovascular Institute.
In a new study, a team from the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research studied the health records of 3.5 million adults who were all free of cardiovascular disease or metabolic disorders at the start of the study.They then looked at the patient's records at an average of five years and four months later to see who had gone on to develop coronary heart disease, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, suffered a stroke, or developed diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
The team found that those who were obese and without heart or metabolic issues still had a 49 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease, seven percent higher risk of cerebrovascular disease and a 96 percent higher risk of heart failure than normal-weight metabolically healthy individuals. Dr. Mungee says the results of the study are not surprising to him.
“Obesity paradox that if you don’t have other problems and just have obesity you’re going to be fine, it’s a false statement,” he said. “And now we have an object of scientific evidence to show that,” he said. More importantly, it’s just not heart problems. People who have obesity tend to have arthritis problems earlier, they need a knee replacement earlier than non-obese people. So it does have a compounding effect on your body as a whole.”
Dr. Mungee continued, saying he wants his patients to focus on the future for a better quality of life.
“They may have no high blood pressure or diabetes or they may not be having coronary heart disease now, but the fact that they are overweight or obese, they have higher risk of developing these problems. So you don’t look at life in one particular stage, you look at the span. You look at what’s future. You need to take action now so that 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road you are still enjoying things that you want to enjoy,” urged Dr. Mungee.
The Institute of Applied Health Research study can be found in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.