Gaining Even a Little Weight Increases Your Risk of Heart Failure

But losing a few pounds might help decrease the damage, cardiologist suggests

Gaining even a little weight can increase your chances of developing heart failure, a new study finds.

Adding pounds can change the structure of your heart and its ability to pump blood. But losing weight can reverse this potentially deadly process, the researchers said.

“People who gain weight, even as little as 5 percent, are more likely to have thickening of the left side of their heart, which is a well-established indicator of heart failure,” said lead researcher Dr. Ian Neeland.

These people “were also more likely to have decreases in their heart’s pumping ability,” Neeland said. He is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

People who lose weight actually improve their hearts by decreasing the thickness of the heart muscle, and that probably lowers their risk for heart failure, he added.

Weight gain in the belly, where fat accumulates around the organs, may produce hormones that can harm the heart and cause inflammation, Neeland said.

Weight gain also puts a strain on the heart, causing it to pump harder, which causes the heart muscle to thicken. “Thick hearts can’t compensate for the change and can ultimately fail,” he said.

Preventing weight gain is an important way to protect heart health. “The heart is very dynamic, it’s very plastic. So small changes over time make big differences,” Neeland said.

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SOURCE: HealthDay News
Steven Reinberg