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Belly Fat Raises Risks From Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s Dementia

August 10, 2011
Belly Fat Dramatically Increases Heart Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Risks

Belly Fat Dramatically Increases Heart Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Risks

Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology publishing in the journal Neurology have released the result of a study showing that being overweight or obese in midlife significantly increases the risk of developing certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer`s disease as we age. Worldwide this places 1.6 billion people at risk, including more than half of the US adult population.

Similar research reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that even small increases in body weight during midlife significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Both studies conclude you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and many forms of dementia by controlling excess weight and participating in regular exercise.

Overweight and Obese Linked to 80% Higher Risk of Dementia

Body Weight in Mid-Age Linked With Higher Rates of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Body Weight in Mid-Age Linked With Higher Rates of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Researchers examined more than 8,500 twins listed in the Swedish Twins Registry and monitored participants height and body weight over a period of 30 years. The twins were placed into groups based on their BMI (Body Mass Index) recorded during midlife. This information was compared with a diagnosis of dementia after reaching the age of 65.

The study determined that participants classified as overweight (BMI range of 25 to 30) and obese (BMI above 30) at midlife had an 80% increased risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer`s disease or vascular dementia (typically caused by mini strokes) compared to those with normal BMI. The researchers found that the study results confirm the growing body of evidence that controlling or reducing body weight in midlife can significantly reduce risk of dementia. The study author, Dr. Weili Xu concluded “This suggests that early life environmental factors and genetic factors may contribute to the link between midlife overweight and dementia.”

Excess Abdominal Fat Increases Risk of Developing Heart Disease by 50%

Excess Body Weight Can Double Risks From Heart Disease

Excess Body Weight Can Double Risks From Heart Disease

Modest weight gain in midlife is shown to play a critical role in developing cardiovascular disease. Scientists from the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that body fat accumulating around the abdomen increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack, even when BMI is in the normal range. Reviewing the results of five studies examining nearly 16,000 individuals with coronary artery disease, researchers found that those with fat stores around the middle were twice as likely to suffer a fatal cardiovascular event, compared with fat found in other body regions.

Researchers found that visceral fat is metabolically active and causes a storm of chemical messengers that fan the flames of systemic inflammation. White abdominal fat stores promote detrimental changes in healthy lipid ratios, blood pressure and blood sugar. Fat stored in other areas of the body such as the legs and buttocks don`t show a significant increase in risk from heart disease.

Extensive research has concluded the negative health consequences of excess body weight. Increased risk of dementia and heart disease can be added to the list of diseases including diabetes, stroke, kidney disease and respiratory conditions. In addition to controlling weight in early and midlife, it is important to limit calories from sugar (including high fructose corn syrup) and wheat food items to discourage fat accumulation around the midsection.

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