When exploring the link between obesity and vascular disease, there are two statistics that should be a part of the discussion: 1) Nearly half of adults in the United States have cardiovascular disease; and 2) More than 42% of adults have obesity. These statistics are no coincidence.
Here at Humble Cardiology Associates, Dr. Madaiah Revana and our team fully appreciate the link between obesity and vascular disease, and we want to help you understand this connection, too.
In the following, we take a closer look at how extra weight can cause problems in how your blood vessels function.
Obesity and cholesterol
When you have obesity, it’s more likely that you’ll have higher LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Obesity also puts you at risk for having low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Your LDLs direct cholesterol to your arteries, while your HDLs deliver excess cholesterol to your liver, where it’s processed and flushed.
With high LDL and low HDL, you’re left with too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, which may lead to atherosclerosis, a condition in which a fatty, waxy substance called plaque builds up inside your artery walls.
Obesity and high blood pressure
When your arteries are narrowed due to atherosclerosis, it can contribute to high blood pressure, which occurs when too much force is placed against the walls of your blood vessels. The plaque buildup decreases the diameter of blood vessels, which hampers the flow of blood and forces your heart to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed space.
A larger body also means your heart has to pump blood to more tissues, putting extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which can contribute to high blood pressure.
The complications that stem from hypertension are serious and include heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome
If you’re carrying too much weight, you may develop metabolic syndrome. It’s diagnosed when you have at least three of these risk factors: hypertension, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, and excess fat around the waist.
All of these ingredients combined create the perfect recipe for cardiovascular disease.
Ultimately, the best way to describe the link between obesity and vascular disease is to quote from a recent statement from the American Heart Association that reads, “Obesity contributes directly to incident cardiovascular risk factors, including dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep disorders. Obesity also leads to the development of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease mortality independently of other cardiovascular risk factors.”
If you want to get on the road to better vascular health through weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, please contact one of our offices in Humble or Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.