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Obesity Itself Seems to Impair Heart Function

18 January, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Even in the absence of apparent heart disease, obesity appears to prevent the heart from functioning normally, according to a new report.

"The study showed a direct relationship between the level of obesity and the degree of (heart) dysfunction. The impact was independent of other risk factors such as" high blood pressure, Dr. Thomas H. Marwick, from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, said in a statement. "We think this indicates a direct metabolic effect of obesity on the heart muscle."

The findings, reported in the American Heart Association 's journal Circulation, are based on a study of 109 overweight or obese subjects, and 33 normal-weight subjects, who underwent a variety of tests looking at heart structure and function.

As body weight increased, abnormal thickening of the heart muscle became more and more common. Moreover, in subjects with severe obesity, the heart was unable to relax and contract normally.

Overweight or mild obesity was also linked to heart dysfunction, but the degree of impairment was less pronounced.

Marwick notes that identifying these subtle heart changes in obese and overweight people could lead to earlier, more effective treatments.

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