Even a Little Weight Gain Damages Your Heart
A new study suggests weight gain—as little as 5 percent of body weight—can affect heart function and increase heart failure risk over time. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that weight gain alters the muscular structure of the heart and can damage the organ.
Participants in the study included 1,262 people without heart failure or conditions that increase heart failure risk. Their average age was 44. Researchers monitored their heart health status for seven years and conducted heart MRI scans and measured the participants’ body fat measurements at the beginning and end of the study period.
People who gained weight during the course of the study were more likely to experience negative effects on heart muscle, including thickening and enlargement of the left heart ventricle, which is a sign of heart failure. Those who lost weight were more likely to have a thinner heart muscle.