Beware! Belly fat may lead to multiple heart attacks, study
Researchers have found that heart attack survivors who carry excess fat around their waist are at increased risk of another heart attack. "Abdominal obesity not only increases your risk for a first heart attack or stroke, but also the risk for recurrent events after the first misfortune," said study author Hanieh Mohammadi from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Prior studies have shown that abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for having a first heart attack. But until now, the association between abdominal obesity and the risk of a subsequent heart attack or stroke was unknown. The research, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, followed more than 22,000 patients after their first heart attack and investigated the relation between abdominal obesity (measured by waist circumference) and the risk for recurrent cardiovascular disease events.
The researchers specifically looked at events caused by clogged arteries, such as fatal and non-fatal heart attack and stroke. Patients were recruited from the nationwide SWEDEHEART registry and followed for a median of 3.8 years.
Most patients - 78 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women - had abdominal obesity (waist circumference 94 cm or above for men and 80 cm or above for women). Increasing abdominal obesity was independently associated with fatal and non-fatal heart attacks and strokes, regardless of other risk factors (such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure, blood lipids and body mass index [BMI]) and secondary prevention treatments.