Wednesday, November 7, 2012 – Noon
Carlos A. Hubbard MD, PhD, cardiologist and Section Head of Regional Cardiology, discusses obesity and heart disease.
HeartRN: Can you decrease heart disease medications by losing weight?
Dr. Hubbard: depending on the medicine you may be able to decrease or do away with some medications with significant weight loss. You should always discuss discontinuation of meds with your doctor first.
HeartRN: If you are pre-diabetic - how can losing weight prevent one from becoming diabetic?
Dr. Hubbard: losing weight increases our insulin sensitivity and can slow or halt the progression towards diabetes. Weight loss has been shown to decrease dependence on meds for existing diabetic patients through this mechanism.
HeartRN: How much weight loss actually decreases the risk of heart disease?
Dr. Hubbard: a 10 percent weight loss has been shown to decrease cardiovascular risk significantly. In some cases the decrease in stroke and heart attack is by 20 percent or more.
HeartRN: How do you decide when to move to medications or bariatric surgery vs. exercise and diet?
Dr. Hubbard: An aggressive program involving dietary changes and exercise should always be the first step. Surgery and medications are alternatives for people unsuccessful with diet/exercise alone. Most bariatric programs require a one year diet and exercise program prior to surgery.
HeartRN: Are there supplements that can be taken to help lose weight instead of prescription medications?
Dr. Hubbard: No. A healthy mostly plant based diet is what is primarily recommended. Supplements can have biological effects and adversely interact with prescribed medications.
HeartRN: What is the relationship between thyroid, diabetes and heart disease and weight gain?
Dr. Hubbard: thyroid disorders can lead to weight gain and heart disease but are not a common cause for either of these problems. Diabetes is a well established risk for heart disease and is worsened and caused by obesity.
HeartRN: Are there studies that are looking at medical therapies other than surgery for weight loss?
Dr. Hubbard: Yes we currently have a couple of clinical trials evaluating non-surgical approaches to weight loss. If you are interested learning more about these programs you can contact our researchers at 216-445-4522.
HeartRN: How do the research studies differ from current approaches?
Dr. Hubbard: Some medications affect fat absorption from diet, others suppress appetite, and others affect metabolism. One current study we are conducting utilizes two medications with a long established safety profile. This is somewhat different than other ongoing studies with newer novel drugs. The study is being conducted nation wide and specifically is for diabetics or patients with heart/vascular disease. Your doctor needs to be involved in decision regarding which approach is most safe for you.
Heart RN: Dr. Hubbard thank you for your time today - where can people get more information about ongoing trials?
Dr. Hubbard: Our research staff is a great resource and again can be contacted at 216-445-4522 for further information.
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