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Circulation. 2006 Feb 14;113(6):898-918. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Obesity and cardiovascular disease: pathophysiology, evaluation, and effect of weight loss: an update of the 1997 American Heart Association Scientific Statement on Obesity and Heart Disease from the Obesity Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism.

Abstract

Obesity is becoming a global epidemic in both children and adults. It is associated with numerous comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and sleep apnea/sleep-disordered breathing. In fact, obesity is an independent risk factor for CVD, and CVD risks have also been documented in obese children. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality as well as reduced life expectancy. Health service use and medical costs associated with obesity and related diseases have risen dramatically and are expected to continue to rise. Besides an altered metabolic profile, a variety of adaptations/alterations in cardiac structure and function occur in the individual as adipose tissue accumulates in excess amounts, even in the absence of comorbidities. Hence, obesity may affect the heart through its influence on known risk factors such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, glucose intolerance, inflammatory markers, obstructive sleep apnea/hypoventilation, and the prothrombotic state, in addition to as-yet-unrecognized mechanisms. On the whole, overweight and obesity predispose to or are associated with numerous cardiac complications such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, and sudden death because of their impact on the cardiovascular system. The pathophysiology of these entities that are linked to obesity will be discussed. However, the cardiovascular clinical evaluation of obese patients may be limited because of the morphology of the individual. In this statement, we review the available evidence of the impact of obesity on CVD with emphasis on the evaluation of cardiac structure and function in obese patients and the effect of weight loss on the cardiovascular system.

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