Does Obesity Trigger A Heart Attack? Reasons Explained

Does obesity Trigger A Heart Attack? Reasons Explained

Obesity is a growing health condition impacting millions of people worldwide. According to the data of the World Health Organization, two billion people are considered overweight of which 650 million are obese. Among these adults, 40% are women and 39% are men.

Reasons For Obesity Causing Heart Attacks

Along with its connection to heart disease, it is also linked with underlying conditions like hypertension, insulin resistance, sleep apnoea syndrome, and diabetes. Researchers have tried to understand for years if there is a connection between obesity and heart attacks.

Does obesity Trigger A Heart Attack? Reasons Explained

Obesity can cause heart attacks even to people that do not have any history of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

A study was conducted by Scotland’s University of Glasgow’s researchers. They concluded that obesity is linked to an increased risk of fatal heart attacks. Researchers say that the strong factor here is inflammation, and science has been recognizing obesity as an inflammatory condition. 

Jennifer Logue, the study researcher of the University of Glasgow, said that they knew prior that obesity increases the risk of heart attacks, and they were also aware that obese people had higher chances of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

She said that researchers thought high blood pressure and high cholesterol were primary factors that caused heart attacks. They believed medicines could treat these conditions. 

Logue said that they’ve observed two new things from the study, middle-aged men that are obese have a 60% risk of succumbing to heart attack than middle-aged non-obese men, even after not considering high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Obesity plays an important part in coronary artery diseases and atherosclerosis. It causes functional and structural changes in the heart which leads to heart failure. The alteration in myocardial structure causes a higher risk of atrial fibrillation, which then leads to cardiac death. It also causes the obesity paradox, which is the underlying cardiovascular disease. 

She concludes that obesity is the main reason that causes fatal heart attacks.

How Does Obesity Cause Heart Attacks?

There are three ways through which obesity causes heart attacks. 

Firstly, obesity distorts your cholesterol levels. It is common knowledge that obesity is the main cause of triglyceride disease and bad cholesterol, but what is unknown is that it also decreases HDL, which is High-density lipoproteins, which are essential to wipe out bad cholesterol and reduce heart attack risk.

Secondly, obesity causes high blood pressure. Individuals suffering from obesity need more blood to provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the body. The body needs more force to move around this blood. Heart attacks are majorly caused by high blood pressure and unfortunately happen frequently to these individuals.

Thirdly, obesity can lead to diabetes. If you’re obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart attacks aren’t the only concerning medical conditions as diabetes can also affect them. The American Heart Association says that diabetic people of 65 years and above have a 68% risk of heart disease. 

Diabetic individuals are known to have two to four times more risk of cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association adds that diabetes is the primary reason for developing heart diseases

What You Can Do About It ?

Amidst all the risks, there are several steps you can follow to lose excess weight, follow a healthy diet and prevent heart disease risk. 

Obese individuals whose families have a history of cardiovascular diseases, should follow regular exercise and eat a nutritious and balanced diet. It is advisable to consult your doctor who can form a diet for you according to your body and health status.

For many people, exercising and following a diet is not enough to lose weight. Bariatric surgery is advisable if your body mass index is higher than 35. It is effective and safe for obese individuals and also helps in maintaining blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

If you think bariatric surgery is the right option for you, your cardiologist can prescribe you a cardiac clearance. When blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol are untreated, you’re at a high risk of developing complications after the surgery. Consult your cardiologist who will monitor your levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, which can help you know if you should go for the surgery.


Obesity is like a silent killer; several people suffer from it but the short-term consequences are negligible apart from the fact that the person looks fat. It has its consequences in the long run as it opens up the person to a variety of diseases especially heart attacks due to high levels of fat in the form of bad cholesterol in the body.

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