Features July 2008 Issue

Start Losing Weight and See Immediate Heart-Health Benefits

Research shows that losing even a few pounds can benefit cardiac patients.

You and your doctor may have a weight-loss target in mind, but you can start to see improved heart health even before you reach your goal. A study in the March issue of the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology shows that heart function (such as the ability to pump more blood with each beat) will improve within months as you gradually lose weight, whether by exercising more, eating less—or ideally, a combination of both approaches. "Losing weight and exercising improves insulin resistance, which can greatly impact the cardiovascular system. So, small changes can make a difference and right away help to lower triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein levels," says Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, CDE.

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