In a recent study, researchers of heart health conducted tests and documented the development of heart failure in an ethnically diverse group of nearly 7,000 men and women, age 45 to 84. This tracking began in 2000.
In this group, 79 developed congestive heart failure. 35 from this sub-group (44 percent) were physically obese. These people have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or more. And on average, participants who were obese, were found to have higher levels of several key immune system proteins involved in inflammation in their blood, than non-obese adults.
One specific key immune system protein, interleukin 6, showed double of average levels. The elevated level of this protein alone accounted for an 84 percent greater risk of developing heart failure in the study members.
Research groups from several universities in the US have found connections between inflammation and a high risk mix of heart disease factors labeled the ‘metabolic syndrome’. This syndrome, or collection of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes – high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, but, particularly obesity – double a person’s chances of developing heart failure.
Add exercise as a possible lifestyle change:
“Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta who measured the effects of an eight-week yoga regimen on 19 heart failure patients found the exercise routine reduced markers of inflammation associated with heart failure while also improving exercise tolerance and quality of life.Patients who did yoga saw a 26 percent decrease in symptoms on a standard assessment that measures quality of life in heart failure patients, compared to a 3 percent decrease for the patients on medical therapy alone.
“Yoga is aerobic. It is not surprising, in terms of its effects on the inflammatory markers,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, who prescribes both yoga and tai chi, a Chinese martial art, to her heart failure and heart attack patients.”