Posted on: 5 August 2019Share
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, affects millions of people; however, many of their risk factors are modifiable. Lifestyle risk factors such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intake can raise the risk for heart disease, as can obesity. Here are some ways that losing weight can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
High cholesterol is thought to be a significant risk factor for heart disease. While high total cholesterol levels may increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, your low-density lipoproteins, or LDL cholesterol, may be even more of a risk factor. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, also known as "bad cholesterol," and it may even help raise your high-density lipoproteins, or "good cholesterol."
Elevated levels of high-density lipoproteins may protect you from cardiovascular disease by removing cholesterol deposits from your arteries and transporting them to your liver so that your body can eliminate them.
While cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins also help your LDL cholesterol, they can cause serious side effects such as muscle pain and kidney disease. Before starting a new weight loss program, see your doctor for a checkup and baseline blood tests. After losing weight, your doctor may order new blood tests to check your cholesterol levels.
Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, raises your risk for heart attack and stroke. While high blood pressure may be hereditary, it is often caused by obesity. When you lose weight, your blood pressure will decline, lowering your risk for heart disease.
High blood pressure can cause atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It can also weaken your blood vessels, which may lead to an aneurysm.
An aneurysm refers to a bulging blood vessel, and if it ruptures, the prognosis may be poor. Even losing a few pounds can lower your blood pressure; however, if you are obese, your doctor may recommend that you augment your weight loss efforts with blood pressure medication, exercise, smoking cessation, and dietary changes.
If you are struggling with your weight, talk to your health care provider about starting a natural weight loss program. After achieving your weight loss goals, your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke will decline, as will your risk for diabetes and renal disease. You may also have less pain in your joints, especially if you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.