Obesity and cardiovascular disease

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    Bahareh Tavana, MD

    The development of obesity is multifactorial and it has genetic, environmental and lifestyle causes. People who are overweight or obese have more risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and are at increased risk of developing hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation .

    This is an overview of the mechanisms of obesity and its relation to cardiovascular risks and  describing the available treatment options to manage this condition.

    Obesity is an independent risk factor for CVD, negatively affecting the heart’s function and structure as well as the blood vessels’ inner lining. Obesity affects the heart through risk factor such as Hypertension, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Elevated Blood Glucose and  Inflammation. A variety of adaptations/alterations in cardiac structure and function occur as excessive adipose tissue accumulates, even in the absence of comorbidities.

    Adipose tissue is not just a pool for fat, but an endocrine organ that is capable of synthesizing and releasing into the bloodstream a variety of molecules that may impact unfavorably the risk factor profile of a patient.

    Weight loss may prevent the progression of atherosclerosis or the occurrence of acute coronary syndrome events in the obese high-risk population. The available data suggests that even modest weight loss improves diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

    To accomplish satisfactory goals, patients and physicians seek for weight loss, weight maintenance and improvement of the risk factors associated to this condition, especially cardiovascular risk.

    We summarize the treatment options for obesity and the efficacy of these options in  improving cardiovascular risk factors.

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