It is well known that being overweight or obese leads to many health complications, particularly cardiovascular disease and the risk factors associated with it. A new study led by Dr. Carl Lavie, Medical Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention, investigated the effect of the “obesity paradox” on mortality rates in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease.
The article—“Disparate Effects of Obesity and Left Ventricular Geometry on Mortality in 8,088 Elderly Patients with Preserved Systolic Function,” published May 20 in Postgraduate Medicine—examines the “obesity paradox” and the puzzling relationship between obesity and abnormal left ventricular geometry.
The retrospective investigation evaluated data from 8,088 elderly patients referred to hospitals for echocardiography. After separating these patients into three groups based on their body mass index, the doctors analyzed left ventricular geometric patterns and the mortality rates for each group.
The study showed that while left ventricular abnormalities were more prevalent in elderly obese patients, a noticeable decrease in mortality was seen. According to the report, the mortality rates for patients with cardiovascular disease who were of average weight were higher than those for obese patients.
In an elderly population, the extra nutritional reserves in obese patients may be a reason for their lower mortality rate. Although an obesity paradox exists, these findings demonstrate that left ventricular geometric abnormalities are prevalent in elderly patients with preserved systolic function and are associated with progressive increases in mortality. Although it appears that the overweight elderly stand a better chance of surviving cardiovascular disease, they also open themselves up to a wide range of additional health problems.
The full article can be accessed on Postgraduate Medicine’s web site at www.postgradmed.com.