How Weight Loss Helps the Heart

August 11, 2009

US News & World Report
August 11, 2009

Syndicated article by Health Day News

How Weight Loss Helps the Heart - By Ed Edelson

Losing a lot of weight rejuvenates the physical structure of the heart, and it makes no difference whether the weight is lost by surgery or by dieting, a new British study shows. "These findings provide a potential mechanism for the reduction in mortality seen with weight loss," the researchers wrote. And it thus helps explain something of a medical mystery -- why people who are grossly overweight are more at risk of heart attack and sudden death than their numbers show, said Dr. Christine Ren, a bariatric surgeon who is an associate professor of surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Most of them say they are pretty healthy, maybe with a slight elevation of blood pressure, but when you really drill down to it you can show an abnormal cardiac function," Ren said. "The point is that their heart is not normal and that already is having a negative effect on their health." Losing weight by dieting is desirable, "but the problem with diets is that statistics show maintenance of weight loss by diet is extremely difficult and quite rare," Ren said.

- Christine Ren, MD, associate professor, surgery, NYU Program for Surgical Weight Loss

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