Chances for a second heart attack are high for heart attack survivors who have belly fat, also known as abdominal obesity, according to a new study.
Previous research has found belly fat can increase the risk of a heart attack. However, a team of researchers from Sweden have now discovered an association between belly fat and repeat heart attacks.
“In our study, patients with increasing levels of abdominal obesity still had a raised risk for recurrent events despite being on therapies that lower traditional risk factors connected with abdominal obesity — such as anti-hypertensives, diabetes medication, and lipid lowering drugs,” study author Dr Hanieh Mohammadi, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, told a news portal.
Adding, “Abdominal obesity not only increases your risk for a first heart attack or stroke but also the risk for recurrent events after the first misfortune,"
Mohammadi further explained: “Maintaining a healthy waist circumference is important for preventing future heart attacks and strokes regardless of how many drugs you may be taking or how healthy your blood tests are.”
For the study, the team monitored a group of 22,000 heart attack survivors after they survived their first heart attack. The results showed a strong association between abdominal obesity and heart attacks. The team also used waist measurement to be able to effectively determine the risk for cardiovascular diseases, like heart attacks and strokes.
“The most important measurements are waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio,” Dr Megan Kamath, a cardiologist at UCLA Health in California, told a news portal. Adding, “Waist measurement and waist-to-hip ratio measurements have been shown to be quite useful in predicting risk of heart attacks. Waist measurements have been shown to be more useful in predicting cardiovascular risk than BMI as they are specific to abdominal fat.”
Heart disease has become a global health issue and is a major cause of death for both men and women. “The chance of getting a second heart attack from a first attack is 1 in 5… 20 per cent of patients can have a second heart attack after a first one… despite taking significant medication to reduce the risk,” Dr Sanjiv Patel, an interventional cardiologist at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California, told a news portal.
Adding, “Just by having the first heart attack, the risk of second heart attack is there. The act of having a heart attack itself is a significant event for the body… a lot of inflammation, a lot of stress, and that can destabilize other blocked areas in the arteries of the heart, which can lay a foundation for the future heart attack,” Patel said.
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