Thursday, July 5, 2012

When obesity is good for you!

Now here's a modern-day, medical conundrum: Obesity may actually be good for you – if you are a heart patient!

It may sound like something straight out of Ripley's Believe it or Not! but researchers in the United States have found that though being overweight and obese are known risk factors for developing heart disease and heart failure, once the disease has manifest itself, being overweight may provide some protective benefits!!

It's the classic "obesity paradox": A slim waist and normal weight usually associated with better health may not be good for heart failure patients, according to a new study by the University of California and Los Angeles.

"Heart failure may prove to be one of the few health conditions where extra weight may prove to be protective," says senior author Dr. Tamara Horwich, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Medifocus Guidebook on
 Congestive Heart Failure
Researchers found that in both men and women with advanced heart failure, obesity and a higher waist circumference put them at significantly less risk for adverse health outcomes.

The findings are published in the July issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Heart failure affects 5.8 million people, including 2.5 million women. Nearly one-half to two-thirds of heart failure patients are either overweight or obese.

Women and men are known to have differences in body composition and body-fat distribution, and this study is one of the first to specifically assess the impact of body mass index and waist circumference on women and compare it with men.

"The study provides us with more insight about how both genders of heart failure patients may be impacted by the obesity paradox," adds Dr Horwich.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on advanced heart failure patients treated at UCLA Medical Center from 1983 to 2011.

The two-year study involved 2,718 patients who had their BMI measured at the beginning of heart failure treatment and 469 patients who had their waist circumference measured at the beginning of the treatment.

At the follow-up, researchers found that in men, a high waist circumference and high BMI were associated with event-free survival from adverse outcomes like death, the need for a heart transplant, or the need for ventricular assist device placement.

Women with a higher BMI also had better outcomes than their normal-weight counterparts, and women with a high waist circumference also tended toward improved outcomes.

Incidentally, in January a report said that the global market for congestive heart failure devices was worth $3.1 billion in 2010. The following year it reached $3.4 billion and is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2016.

In the United States alone, in 2010 the market was worth $1.6 billion – nearly 52.5 per cent – and is expected to reach $3.2 billion in 2016. For Europe the figures were $936 million in 2010 and forecast to increase to $1 billion by 2016, as the following graph shows:

Source: BCC Research. Email: editor@bccresearch,com
Global Markets for Devices for Treating Congestive Heart Failure (HLC095A)

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