If you have a body mass index of 30 or more — which indicates obesity — you may be at particular risk for developing heart disease.
That’s because obesity is linked to the thickening of the muscle in your left ventricle, the heart’s pumping chamber.
This condition, called left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), can result in heart rhythm problems and heart failure.
LVH is also associated with a higher risk of death.
Hypertrophy is a medical term for the enlargement of an organ — in this case, the heart.
An Enlarged Heart Isn’t A Disease Itself
It’s a symptom of an underlying problem that’s causing the heart to work harder than normal.
Sometimes, an enlarged heart has no symptoms.
But if the heart can’t pump blood effectively, you may develop congestive heart failure. This may cause shortness of breath, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, and fluid retention.
The Medical Proof
This link between obesity and an enlarged heart was recently discovered by a research team from The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center.
They analyzed over 17,000 heart ultrasounds. Their study showed that the 3 greatest risks for LVH were a narrowing of the aortic valve, gender, and body mass index.
The cause of LVH in obese people is unknown.
But one conclusion is inescapable: avoiding a high body mass index may prevent LVH and result in a healthier heart.
So if you’re overweight or obese, lose weight now — before heart problems develop. If you already have heart problems or you’re not sure, see your doctor. This is not a condition that can be ignored.