Understanding the Links Between Obesity and Heart Disease

Understanding the Links Between Obesity and Heart Disease

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably seen a number of articles where we talk about combatting obesity by getting more active (and enjoying it!), eating healthily, and even adopting a dog. But what exactly does obesity have to do with heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)? How can shedding excess kilograms really make a difference? Let’s take a look at these links and the science and studies that back them up.

Obesity – A Health Pandemic

Obesity is not as simple as being overweight, having a different body type or loving those freshly baked brownies a little too much. It’s a very real health condition that carries dangerous risks.

The primary way that obesity is diagnosed is by calculating body mass index (BMI). This is a simple mathematical formula where you divide your height in meters squared by your weight in kilograms. Because height is usually calculated in centimetres, you can also calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in centimetres squared and then multiplying by 10,000. An easy way to do it is by using this online BMI calculator.

Now for understanding the results. A BMI of under 18.5 is considered underweight and a BMI of 18.5-25 is considered to be inside a normal, healthy range. A BMI of 25-30 is considered overweight, and one of 30 or more is considered obese.

Currently, 1 in 4 children aged 2-17 and 2 in every 3 adults were obese in a study performed in 2017-2018.

How Obesity Impacts Heart Health

Obese patients carry additional health risks that are directly linked to this excess weight. This is because it:

  • Increases cholesterol levels – Unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase while levels of good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the cholesterol that fights the effects of bad cholesterol) decreases. This results in a fatty, waxy build-up in the blood, which starts to narrow and clog blood vessels.
  • High blood pressure – When you have high cholesterol, the heart has to work harder to get blood through these vessels, which increases blood pressure and strain on the heart.
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack – Deposits can also break free, travelling through the cardiovascular system until they get stuck, causing a stroke or leading to a heart attack.
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes – People with a BMI of over 30 are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a potentially fatal condition that increases risks of heart attack and stroke as well as other issues such as glaucoma, foot ulcers and limb amputation, and kidney failure.
  • Increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest – SCA can happen to anyone regardless of their outward appearance of health, age, or any other factor. However, people who have obesity are at greater risk of SCA. This is because a heart attack or stroke can trigger an electrical malfunction in the cardiac system, causing SCA, and existing co-morbidities like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are all risk factors for SCA.

So, What Should We Do?

While it’s true that our world would be all the poorer if we all had the same body type, combatting obesity is important if we want to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe from heart disease and SCA. We can still be diverse in physical appearance while working to make our lives healthier and longer!

In addition to making personal choices to combat our sedentary lifestyles and eat healthier, we can also help make our communities safer by investing in portable defibrillators or AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) that can treat SCA when it occurs.

DefibsPlus is a leading provider of AEDs as well as replacement AED parts, kits and storage units. Because we are passionate about improving outcomes and survival rates for SCA, we also offer a generous subsidy to help make these critical devices more affordable, and we supply free defibrillator training when you buy a defibrillator from our team.

For more information on our products and services or the DefibsPlus defibrillator subsidy, call 1300 463 344 or use our online form to contact us today. Together, we can save lives.