How to Prevent Heart Failure – Two Important Tips

Jun 14, 2009 by

How to Prevent Heart Failure – Two Important Tips

Poor diets, sedentary lifestyles and ballooning waistlines are major reasons why so many people die from heart attacks and cardiovascular-related conditions every year.

The following article highlights research into how exercise and keeping healthy weight are two critical elements of preventing heart failure.

Two Important Ways to Lower Risk of Heart Failure

by Reuben Chow

A man who is obese and inactive can have a risk of getting heart failure which is as much as three times that of a lean and active counterpart, a study conducted at Brigham and Women`s Hospital has found. And heightened heart failure risk applied not just to obese men, but also to those who were simply overweight.

Details of Study

The large prospective cohort study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and was led by Satish Kenchaiah, MD. The study team had made use of data of 21,091 men from the Physician`s Health Study. The men were aged 40 to 84 at the start of the study (mean age of 53) and did not have any known heart disease. From the commencement of the study in 1982, the study subjects filled in annual health surveys, and occurrence of heart failure was tracked from that year to 2007.

Excess Weight Raises Heart Failure Risk

The study found that there was an 11% increase in risk of heart failure per increase of 1-kg/m2 in body mass index (BMI). In addition, with lean study subjects (BMI <25 kg/m2) as the base group, it was found that overweight men (BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2) had a 49% higher risk of heart failure, while men who were obese (BMI 30 kg/m2) experienced a 180% higher risk.

"Whereas previous studies have established that obese men have a higher likelihood of developing heart failure, the present investigation has extended this knowledge by pointing out that even overweight or pre-obese men are not spared from this increased risk," said Dr Kenchaiah.

Lack of Vigorous Physical Activity Also Raises Heart Failure Risk

Further, undertaking vigorous physical activity offered an 18% reduction in heart failure risk. The research team had defined “vigorous physical activity” as a dichotomous variable – the men were either “active”, which meant they undertook exercise that caused sweating 1 to 3 times each month, or “inactive”, which meant rare or no occurrences of such activity.

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