Examined: Correlation Between Weight Increase and Heart Failure Risk

HealthDay News — Even a little weight gain can increase risk of developing heart failure, according to a report published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

At the start of the study, 1262 men and women, average age 44 and without cardiovascular disease or left ventricular dysfunction, underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their heart and had several body fat measurements recorded. These were done again 7 years later.

The investigators found that people who increased their weight by as little as 5% were more likely to have thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle. Increasing weight was also associated with modest effects on end-diastolic volume and ejection fraction. These changes in the heart’s structure and function remained even after the researchers took into account other confounding factors.

People who lost weight, however, were more likely to have a decrease in the thickness of their heart muscle, lead researcher Ian Neeland, MD, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, told HealthDay. The researchers also found that how much someone weighed at the start of the study didn’t have an effect on changes in their heart. Neeland said that even people of normal weight can damage their heart if they gain weight over time.

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Wilner B, Garg S, Ayers CR, et al. Dynamic relation of changes in weight and indices of fat distribution with cardiac structure and function: The Dallas heart study [published online July 19, 2017]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.005897