Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood to the body. Because heart disease is a health concern for many individuals, specifically overweight individuals, smokers and those with other health complications, people often wonder whether their weight can increase the risk of heart failure. The simple answer to this would be: Yes, it can.
Causes of Heart Failure
Generally speaking, heart failure doesn’t instantaneously appear. It is usually the result of various lifestyle factors and diseases that weaken the heart over time. Any type of activity that damages or overworks the heart muscle can be considered a risk factor for the development of heart failure. Some factors that cause heart failure include:
- High blood pressure
- Poor nutritional choices (high fat and high cholesterol)
- Limited physical activity
- Heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopaty and myocarditis)
Individuals that have had previous heart attacks, coronary artery disease, abnormal heart valves, lung disease or experience sleep apnea are at an increased risk of developing heart failure.
A direct association has been found between overweight or obese patients and heart complications. Statistics reveal that 1 out of every 3 Americans is classified as obese, thus putting 1 out of every 3 people at an increased risk for heart complications. High fat levels prevent the body’s major organs from functioning properly. Therefore, a person with high levels of fat is more likely to be diagnosed with a heart complication.
Healthy Choices to Lessen the Risk
Equipped with the knowledge that weight plays a significant factor in the development of heart failure is often what it takes for some individuals to begin making healthier choices, leading to a healthier lifestyle and decreasing the chance of experiencing heart failure. In an effort to prevent heart complications, it is important to carefully examine your lifestyle and begin making necessary changes. Some questions to ask yourself when critiquing your lifestyle include:
- What does my diet consist of? Replace unhealthy items with healthy food choices, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains and nuts. Limit the amount of salt and sugar you consume and strive to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day.
- How active am I? With your physician’s approval, begin a daily exercise regimen to include cardio exercises that will allow you to lose weight and help strengthen your heart.
- What other health complications do I suffer from? Being more conscientious about your food choices and physical activity levels will drastically help improve other health complications, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Set your goal, make a plan and stick with it. Not only will making wiser lifestyle choices help with weight loss, it will make you feel better as a whole. Remember that what you put into your body, your body will put out. Even losing small amounts of weight can provide cardiovascular benefits, and small losses will eventually turn into larger losses with continued efforts.