On every diet site that discusses the dangers of obesity, you’ll find the same sentence: Obesity increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you see this sentence everywhere, and no one explains what it means, it no longer sounds like a scary risk and begins to become just words that have no meaning. Today, you will find out what these words mean and why there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease for obese people.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease is not actually a single disease or condition. Rather it is a series of diseases and conditions that have to do with the heart, blood vessels and veins. In other words, it is a set of conditions that adversely affects your entire cardiovascular system.
The most common condition in cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the swelling of the arteries as a result of a clog. This clog and the subsequent swelling can cut of blood flow to or from your heart an can result in a heart attack. Atherosclerosis can also lead to coronary artery disease, which is a cardiovascular disease that is also the leading cause of death for both men and women. Coronary artery disease is the narrowing of small blood vessels as a result of atherosclerosis. This narrowing prevents the heart and surrounding tissue from getting blood and oxygen. Arteriosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries as a result of diabetes. Arteriosclerosis with atherosclerosis is a potentially deadly combination that increases one’s risk of heart attack.
Angina is another aspect of cardiovascular disease. Angina is a non-specific, severe pain in your chest, usually caused by atherosclerosis. It is an indication that blood and oxygen are not moving through your system properly and that your organs are suffering.
An aortic aneurysm is yet another cardiovascular disease. Aortic aneurysms are weakened blood vessels that develop balloon like growths filled with blood. When and if they rupture, they can cause a hemorrhage and result in death.
How Does Obesity Factor?
There are many ways in which obesity affects your risk of cardiovascular disease. Generally, people do not become obese by eating a healthy diet filled with low fat foods, vegetables, fruits and fiber filled grains. Instead, people become obese after eating a diet filled with fat, cholesterol and sugar. Eating a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol increases your chance of filling and stressing your arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis. This could result in angina and coronary artery disease. A diet high in sugar can result in diabetes which can cause arteriosclerosis. It can also cause aortic aneurysms.
If the diet is not factor enough, look to Science Daily’s November 2008 article about the hormone Leptin. According to Science Daily, Ohio University conducted a study that found that obese people secrete more of the hormone Leptin which can lower your body’s levels of Nitric Oxide. Nitric oxide works in your system to relax blood vessels and maintain your blood flow. With less Nitric Oxide, you have an increased chance of arteriosclerosis combine this with impeded blood flow and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Is There a Cure?
By changing your eating habits and adopting an exercise routine you can lose weight get your body back in balance, and improve your cardiovascular health. You can give your heart a new lease on life and improve the quality of your current life by integrating a healthier lifestyle. Before changing your diet and exercise routine, it’s a good idea to consult a physician so that they may give you some guidance with your specific history in mind.