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Fatty Heart And The Health Risks Associated With It

The popular belief is that people who fall in the category of being obese can develop the condition of a fatty heart.

However that is not true, people who are thin on appearance can also develop this fatal condition.

Fatty Heart And The Health Risks Associated With It

The fatty heart is defined by excess pericardial fat surrounding the heart that can increase heart failure.

This condition is more common in women compared to men and does not have any correlation with the weight of an individual.

The latest observations have been derived from new research published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Fatty Heart And The Health Risks Associated With It

Low body weight does not guarantee a healthy heart:

Having a low body weight does not ensure that the heart of the individual will also be healthy or not have any fat accumulation.

The study from which the observations were derived had 6,785 individuals, all visibly in the healthy weight group, and they were evenly distributed in groups of men and women.

For the purpose of the study, individuals having a Body Mass Index, (BMI) less than 25, were considered to be of healthy weight, however, 10% of these individuals were observed to have pericardial fat.

Looking at the obese participants, those with BMI above 30, while, 29% of the overweight individuals reportedly had pericardial fat and 55% of obese individuals had pericardial fat.

The study found that the probability of heart failure was more closely linked with the presence of pericardial fat than with the weight of the individual.

According to a registered dietician nutritionist and bariatric surgery program coordinator at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, Kristen Smith, a person with normal BMI can have stored fat in areas of the body that can make them susceptible to heart conditions.

The study establishes the need to discuss the importance of healthy habits rather than just losing bodyweight, implies the registered dietician, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Julie Stefanski.

Ways to prevent fat accumulation in the heart:

Preventing fat accumulation in the heart and reduction in the fat in case it has already been accumulated can be achieved by adhering to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

One can include foods in their diet that are good for the heart. Examples of such food include fruits, vegetables, grains rich in fiber, seafood, nuts, legumes, and seeds.

Another way is to include seafood in the diet that is rich in omega fatty acids in at least 2 meals a week and having a meat-free meal at least once a week.

Exercise has a very good impact in lowering fat accumulation from not just the heart but any part of the body.

One can have sufficient physical exercise through brisk walks for 30-45 minutes on a daily basis, or taking 10,000 steps in a day during a week as many times as possible.

The American Heart Association has a current guideline that suggests, 150 minutes of moderate aerobics, like a brisk walk or dance, and 75 minutes of heavy aerobics like running or cycling during a week is good physical activity for a healthy heart.

What causes a fatty heart:      

Pericardial fat is diagnosed with fat deposition that occurs within the muscle cells of the heart, which carries out the contraction of the blood.

Fatty heart is also diagnosed if the fat deposition is noted between the cells of the heart muscle, causing stiffness in the heart and an impaired pumping function.

Pericardial fat can also occur by the deposition of plaque within the coronary arteries, this plaque, being fatty in nature, diminishes the elasticity of the artery, causing a restricted blood flow that can induce a heart attack.

Although women are far less likely to develop pericardial fat, they are more prone to deaths caused by it.

Experts believe, the susceptibility of women to succumb to heart conditions arising out of pericardial fat can be understood by carrying out a further study aimed at gender differences in heart health


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