So, how does obesity increase your risk of heart disease? Well, the first thing to say is that obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Obesity increases the risk for heart disease in two main ways. One is obviously you're not getting the benefits of regular exercise. Those benefits are a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall, well-being.
But in addition to that, obesity itself can lead to heart disease. It leads to a lot of changes in metabolism, or the way the body works. It could change the way we absorb fats and cholesterol, it can change the way we react to daily stress, and it can change our body's physiology to lead to things like high blood pressure.
How obesity leads to heart disease is a very important problem in the United States. Obesity is an epidemic in the U.S. and in fact, 50 percent of Americans are overweight and a third of Americans are obese, and this number is only increasing, so it's become a real problem. Obesity leads to a lot of changes in the body, which can have detrimental effects. It can directly impact the hearts function leading to promotion of development of atherosclerosis, or blocked arteries in the heart, a weakening of the heart muscle, and in increased chance of arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms.
The treatment, would be to adopt a more heart-healthy lifestyle - to change the way we eat, making healthy choices, increase our cardiovascular exercise, and decrease the amount of stress in life. So, obesity definitely leads to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, but changing our lifestyles can definitely help reduce that risk.