Features October 2012 Issue

Study Suggests Extra Pounds May Benefit Heart Failure Patients

But experts warn that gaining weight is not recommended, and that the study data may be misleading.

In a departure from the usual advice for heart patients, a recent study suggests that carrying around a few extra pounds may actually afford some protection to heart failure (HF) patients. The study, published in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology, raises questions about the so-called “obesity paradox” in heart failure, because being overweight is usually one of the main controllable risk factors heart patients are urged to address. “The so-called obesity paradox in patients with heart failure suggests that those patients who are obese with higher BMIs—and particularly fat distribution in the abdomen—do better than those with more normal weights and particularly better than those who are underweight,” says heart failure specialist James Young MD, Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute. “That paradox has been observed for some time now. It is a complicated issue.”

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