Metabolically Healthy Obese People Are Still at Risk of Cardiovascular Events

Obese man

Metabolically healthy obese people are not free from cardiovascular risk

A new study performed by researchers from the University of Birmingham destroyed the myth that it is possible to be healthy and overweight. The research, presented at the European Congress on Obesity, found that obese people are at a higher risk of experiencing cardiac events and heart disease, even if they are healthy from a metabolic point of view.

People who suffer from this kind of obesity, or ‘metabolically healthy’ people, have a BMI or more than 30 kilograms per m2. However, they do not suffer from other complications associated with this condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Comparing people with a normal weight with metabolically healthy obese people

For the research, scientists looked at the health records of 3.5 million people collected between 1995 to 2015. At the beginning, none of the patients suffered from any type of cardiovascular disease. Then, they divided them according to their BMI and searched for any abnormalities which would not allow them to be considered metabolically healthy.

Regardless of the absence of metabolic abnormalities, overweight people are at risk

Afterwards, researchers looked if there is a difference in cardiovascular risk between healthy people and people with metabolically healthy obesity. Results showed that overweight people are 50 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease, 7 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, and double the risk of heart failure.

Initially, researchers thought these people have an overall smaller risk of PVD (peripheral vascular disease). However, after a more thorough analysis, they found that this risk is also 11 percent higher than in people with a normal weight.

This was the first extensive study which analyzes the risk of cardiovascular events in people suffering from this type of obesity. Therefore, doctors should encourage all types of obese people to lose weight, regardless of the presence or absence of high blood sugar and blood pressure. This is the only way they could minimize the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.
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