You may not think that gaining a couple of pounds is that big of a deal, but according to research findings, even the slightest weight gain is enough to increase your risk of heart failure. Any amount of weight gain changed the heart’s structure, which can lead to potentially damaging outcomes.
Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes weak, preventing it from pumping enough blood throughout the body. When the rest of the body stops receiving adequate oxygenated blood, it stops functioning. This can contribute to other organs and bodily functions failing.
Heart failure affects an estimated 5.7 million Americans, and those who are overweight are at the highest risk for heart failure. This is because added weight also adds pressure to the heart, making it more difficult to pump blood effectively.
Weight gain of any amount linked with higher heart failure risk
The study included 1,262 people with an average age of 44. At the start of the study, none of the participants had heart failure or any factors that could increase the risk of heart failure. The status of their heart health was monitored over seven years.
MRI scans and body fat measurements were taken of all participants at baseline and at study completion.
The researchers found that the participants who gained weight over the course of the study were more likely to experience negative effects of the heart.
A telltale sign of heart failure is thickening of the left ventricle of the heart, and this was seen among those who gained weight. The researchers suggest that weight gain as minor as a five percent increase is enough to have detrimental effects on the heart.
On the other hand, the researchers noted that those who lost weight over the course of seven years were more likely to have thinner heart muscles.
Researcher Dr. Ian Neeland explained, “Any weight gain may lead to detrimental changes in the heart above and beyond the effects of baseline weight so that prevention should focus on weight loss or if meaningful weight loss cannot be achieved – the focus should be on weight stability.”
The takeaway from the study is that a small increase in weight is enough to cause heart problems. On the other hand, losing any amount of weight helps restore heart health.