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Time to hit the gym: Excess belly fat may up risk of repeated heart attacks

Increasing abdominal obesity was independently associated with heart attacks, and strokes.

PTI|
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2020, 05.40 PM IST
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Abdominal obesity can accelerate the clogging of arteries through atherosclerosis.
LONDON: Heart attack survivors who carry excess fat around their waist are at increased risk of repeat cardiac episodes, according to the largest-ever study of its kind. Previous studies have shown that abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for having a first heart attack.

However, the association between abdominal obesity and the risk of a subsequent heart attack, or stroke was unknown till now.

"Patients are typically put on a stringent medical treatment regimen after their first attack to prevent second events - called secondary prevention," said Hanieh Mohammadi from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

"Secondary prevention works through reducing risk factors associated with heart attack, and stroke such as high blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure," Mohammadi said in a statement.

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, followed over 22,000 patients in Sweden after their first heart attack.

The researchers investigated the relation between abdominal obesity - measured by waist circumference - and the risk for repeat cardiovascular disease events.

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The link between abdominal obesity and heart attack or stroke risk was unknown till now.

They specifically looked at events caused by clogged arteries, such as fatal and non-fatal heart attack, and stroke. Patients were followed for a median of 3.8 years.

Most patients - 78 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women - had abdominal obesity, with waist circumference of 94 centimetres (cm) or above for men, and 80 cm or above for women.

Increasing abdominal obesity was independently associated with fatal and non-fatal heart attacks, and strokes, the researchers said.

This was regardless of other risk factors - such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure, blood lipids and body mass index (BMI), and secondary prevention treatments.

Waist circumference was a// more important marker of recurrent events than overall obesity, the researchers said.

"The reason abdominal obesity is very common in patients with a first heart attack is that it is closely linked with conditions that accelerate the clogging of arteries through atherosclerosis," Mohammadi said.

These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and insulin resistance (diabetes) as well as raised blood lipid levels," she said.

World Heart Day: Binge On Legumes, Nuts; Exercise For 45 Mins Daily

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Healthy Heart Tips

28 Sep, 2019
In India, half of all reported heart attacks are caused due to cardiovascular diseases in people under the age of 50, and 25% of those occur in people below 40. The population of cardiovascular patients is rising rapidly, and the disease is afflicting younger people at their peak. While a disease can be pathologically detected and treated at any stage, prevention really is key. Over the last few years, there has been a revival of interest in alternate methods of fitness and well-being accompanied by correction of diet and lifestyle. This approach has a positive impact on the body, and helps prevent major heart diseases. On World Heart Day, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman & Managing Director of Medanta, The Medicity (Gurugram) shares tips to follow for a healthy heart.
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