A recent study has suggested that obesity alone can increase the risk of a fatal heart attack even excluding the effect of other risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. Healthday (2/14 Mozes) has reported that obese men have a dramatically higher risk of dying from a heart attack. In the study of 6,000 middle age men followed for about 15 years, there was an increased risk of fatal heart attack independent of risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Obese middle-aged men had a 60% increased risk of dying from a heart attack compared to non-obese middle age men after taking out the effect of these risk factors. This suggests that obesity itself may be causing the heart attack. One theory is that obesity may be related to inflammation as a factor in a fatal attack. In addition, obese individuals have larger hearts because of their increase in body size and their hearts may already be “stressed” prior to a heart attack.

Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, states that our office advocates an aggressive approach about not only treating traditional risk factors but also obesity with nutrition counseling and also early diagnostic testing to detect heart disease prior to the development of a heart attack.