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Obesity might Save Lives of Chronic Heart Failure Patients, Study

Obesity might Save Lives of Chronic Heart Failure Patients, Study

(epharmanews) – Although doctors have always recommended that people should maintain a normal weight with a slim waist, a new UCLA study says this is not the case with heart failure patients.

This surely sounds odd for people who have always known that obesity and a higher waist circumference were actually risk factors for heart failure. However, these two factors put patient at significantly less risk of adverse outcomes, as the researchers found after studying men and women with advanced heart failure. This phenomenon is often observed in chronic heart failure and is known as the “obesity paradox”.

Senior author Dr. Tamara Horwich, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said: “The study provides us with more insight about how both genders of heart failure patients may be impacted by the obesity paradox,”
"Heart failure may prove to be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective."

It is well known that men and women have differences in body composition and body-fat distribution. This study, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Cardiology, is the first to evaluate the effect of BMI and waist circumference on women and compare it with men.

For the purpose of this study, the researchers used standardized measures to assess obesity in men and women. They used waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) and considered waist circumference of 102 or greater for men and 88 or greater for women to be high. BMI was considered high if it was equal to 25 kg/m2.

According to these standards, all of the participants, more than 3100 heart failure patients, had high values of either BMI or waist circumference. The researchers used statistical analysis and found that patients with high BMI and high waist circumference also had improved outcomes, after a two-year follow-up.

Both men and women with a normal BMI and waist circumference were at a substantially higher risk for these adverse outcomes. In fact, a normal BMI was associated with significantly worse outcomes — a 34 percent higher risk in men and a 38 percent higher risk in women —than a high BMI.

"We knew that obesity might provide a protective benefit for heart failure patients, but we didn't know whether this obesity paradox applied specifically to women with heart failure, as well as men — and it does," Horwich said.

There are several possible explanations to why the obesity paradox exists for heart failure patients, one of which is that patients may benefit from increased muscle mass, as well as metabolic reserves in the form of fatty tissue. In addition, increased levels of serum lipoproteins that are associated with increased body fat may play an anti-inflammatory role, neutralizing circulating toxins and inflammation-related proteins.

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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon

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