Belly Fat Increases the Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

Sudden cardiac death is rare, particularly in athletes. In people under 35, a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common cause. In older adults, coronary artery disease is usually the culprit. A study led by Selcuk Adabag from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Minneapolis found that abdominal obesity increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by 100 percent, compared to abdominally lean people. Abdominal obesity was identified by high body mass index (weight proportional to height), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. The results were adjusted for the effects of high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal blood fats and the presence of heart disease, heart failure and heart enlargement. Researchers speculated that abdominal fat deposition might increase whole-body inflammation. (Heart, published online November 19, 2014)

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