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Overweight & Heart Disease

Obesity is a common problem in the United States. Current research suggests that one in three Americans is obese. Obesity and overweight are linked to several factors that increase ones risk for cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease and stroke):

  • High blood lipids, especially high triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired glucose tolerance or type-2 (also called adult onset) diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

Obesity and overweight are also linked to hypertension and an enlarged left ventricle (left ventricular hypertrophy), increasing risk for heart failure.

In addition, overweight and obesity can be related to some cancers, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis.

Are you at increased risk?

To determine if your weight is linked to increase risk of heart disease, two measurements are used:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Waist Circumference

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The BMI is a mathematical formula that factors a person’s height and weight in determining obesity. It may be less accurate for athletes or older persons who have lost muscle mass.

  • Underweight - Below 18.5
  • Normal - 18.5 - 24.9
  • Overweight - 25.0 - 29.9
  • Obesity 30.0 - and Above

Those who are overweight or obese and have two or more risk factors should lose weight to decrease their risk for heart disease. Use the body mass indicator below to calculate your BMI.

Waist circumference

Your waist circumference is the measurement of your waist, just above your navel. It is a good predictor of abdominal fat, a risk factor for heart disease. This risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women

What to do next?

A small decrease in weight can go a long way to decrease your risk for heart disease. Click here to learn about weight management strategies.

Make an appointment with a Preventive Cardiology registered dietitian to create a nutrition plan at 216.444.9353, or, toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 49353. Individual counseling and group weight loss programs are available. For online assistance in creating a weight loss plan, check out our MyConsult Nutrition Counseling Service.

Resources:

Reviewed: 12/13

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

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