The heart’s main function is to pump blood so that the rest of the body can get adequate oxygenated blood in order to function. When this process is disrupted or the heart’s ability to pump blood becomes impaired, heart failure occurs. Although heart failure may sound like the heart has stopped or halted function altogether, it simply refers to the heart’s inability to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body. Regardless, heart failure is a very serious condition and it requires medical attention to prevent complications from arising.
Risk factors for heart failure include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, certain medications, and sleep apnea. But the latest findings suggest that weight gain is another contributing factor to heart failure.
The study found that even the slightest weight gain is enough to change the structure of the heart and its ability to pump blood effectively. On the other hand, the researchers found that reducing your weight is enough to reverse the harmful effects of weight gain on the heart.
Lead researcher Dr. Ian Neeland explained, “People who gain weight, even as little as five percent, are more likely to have thickening of the left side of their heart, which is a well-established indicator of heart failure. [These people] were also more likely to have decreases in their heart’s pumping ability.”
Losing weight helps decrease the thickness of the heart muscle, which can reduce the risk of heart failure.
Additionally, weight gain produces hormones that trigger inflammation throughout the body, including the heart.
Lastly, weight gain puts strain on the heart, causing it to pump harder to ensure proper blood flow reaches the rest of the body.
Because the heart is sensitive to the slightest of changes in weight, it’s important that you either drop those additional pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
The study looked at 1,200 men and women with an average age of 44, all without heart disease at the start of the study. The participants underwent heart scans and had their body fat measured. The same tests were repeated seven years after the start of the study.
The researchers found that the individuals who had experienced as little as five percent weight gain had enlargement and thickening of the left ventricle of the heart, which is an early sign of heart failure.
Furthermore, these patients saw a decrease in heart pumping function. On the other hand, the patients who lost weight saw this thickness decrease.
The study just reestablishes the importance of not gaining weight, as it can have detrimental effects on your health.