ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Marinades Help Keep Grilled Meat Safe
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Add your Article

Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- The excess fat that leads people to develop heart disease can help them fight against the condition's worst effects, a review of cardiac studies shows.

It's the "obesity paradox," said Dr. Carl J. Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, and lead author of the review, which appears in the May 26 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Obesity is a major problem that contributes significantly to increased risk of heart disease and mortality," Lavie said. "But once you get high blood pressure, blocked heart arteries and peripheral arterial disease, the obese patients do better than the lean patients. The obesity paradox has been written about for years, but still many doctors are not aware of it."

His report looked at data from 40 studies of 250,000 people with heart disease, Lavie said. He wanted not only to remind doctors of the paradox, but also to warn them and the general public that it offers no excuse for being fat, he said.

Some physicians have misinterpreted the evidence to mean that obese people with heart disease should not be encouraged to lose weight, Lavie said.

"Obesity causes many of the known risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and it is an independent risk factor on its own," he said. "The patients with heart disease who do the best are the obese who lose weight."

There are several possible explanations for the paradox, Lavie said.

One is that obese people visit physicians earlier than others because they develop symptoms, such as fatigue and breathing problems. Heart disease is more treatable if identified early.

It's also conceivable that something in the excess fat cells of obese people might have a protective value, Lavie said.

"People who have more weight can have more reserve ability to fight disease," he said. "Take breast cancer. Obesity may help cause breast cancer, but a 200-pound woman might be able to fight breast cancer better than a 100-pound woman because she has more metabolic reserve."

It's well-known that obesity leads to heart disease, and that's a big part of the paradox, Lavie said. "These people wouldn't have developed heart disease in the first place if they weren't obese," he said. "A thin person is getting it [heart disease] for a different reason, so he or she is getting a worse form of the disease, getting the disease despite being thin."

Lavie worries that people might get the wrong idea from his report. "Obesity in the United States is a major problem," he said. "It is increasing in skyrocketing proportions. It is a major contributor to the epidemic of heart disease. We don't want people to be hearing that obesity is good."

More information

Obesity in the United States and the medical problems associated with it are described by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Carl J. Lavie, M.D., medical director, cardiac rehabilitation and prevention, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans; May 26, 2009, Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Last Updated: May 18, 2009

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