Obesity and Coronary Artery Disease

Obesity is a risk factor for several serious health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. Over time, diminished blood flow can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath or a heart attack if a complete blockage occurs.

Research has previously shown that perivascular (outer) fat tissue in humans with CAD is highly inflamed, leading to the belief that dysfunctional outer fat is the real culprit in the formation of the disease. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati were able to replicate this inflammation in a new study. They found that the closeness of the outer fat to the artery, easily influences the function of the coronary blood vessel wall, suggesting that the fat outside of arteries, especially outside the left coronary artery, may influence the formation of CAD.

Additionally, the study found that outer fat is particularly sensitive to a high-fat diet. The researchers observed inflammatory changes in the mice when fed a high-fat diet; when they transplanted outer fat from obese animals to the artery of lean animals, the tissue damaged the blood vessel wall and quickly led to disease formation.

Since CAD is a leading cause of death in America, studies such as this one are very important. With more information about the formation of the disease, the hope is that it will lead to the ability to treat people before the onset of CAD symptoms.

Weight loss has been shown reduce many of the risks associated with obesity, such as the risk of heart disease. The Lap-Band system can be an effective weight loss option for people who need to lose about 50 pounds or more, and seek the health benefits that come from losing weight. You can learn about Arizona’s leading Lap-Band program here.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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