Baylor College of Medicine News

Your weight is key to a healthy heart

Another reason to shed those extra pounds, you could be saving your life. Reduce your weight and you will reduce your risk of heart disease.

"There are genetic and environmental reasons that contribute to heart disease," said Dr. Hani Jneid, assistant professor and director of interventional cardiology research at Baylor College of Medicine, and interventional cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. "But for most people, having a healthy weight may prevent the disease or make heart health more manageable."

Being overweight or obese can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. All of which can contribute to heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), even if you have no other related health conditions, obesity itself increases the risk by 20 percent.

Making small healthy eating and exercise changes is one way to start. Heart healthy changes include:

  • Reducing sodium intake
  • Learning about portion size
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Replacing meat with fish
  • Replace sugary drinks with water
  • Fit in more walking during the day

"It is important that each person knows his or her body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). Those individuals with an elevated BMI or with a disproportionally high WC for a given BMI should have their risk factors evaluated (blood pressure, lipid profile, smoking, etc) and should be targeted for a healthier lifestyle and body weight" said Jneid,"A trip to the doctor can help determine what a healthy weight for each individual would be, and how to reach your weight loss goals."