London, January 25-According to a new study, those people with a history of cardiac arrest and have excess fat around their waist are likely to have more heart attacks in the future.
The new study, largest-ever of its kind, which establishes the association between abdominal obesity and the risk of a subsequent heart attack, or stroke, is significant from the point of view that it has finally proven the claims of previous studies that abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for having a first heart attack.
Hanieh Mohammadi from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said, “Patients are typically put on a stringent medical treatment regimen after their first attack to prevent second events-called secondary prevention.”
“Secondary prevention works through reducing risk factors associated with heart attack, and stroke such as high blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure,” she added.
The researchers studied 22,000 patients in Sweden after their first heart attack and investigated the relation between abdominal obesity-measured by waist circumference-and the risk for repeat cardiovascular disease events. They specifically looked at events caused by clogged arteries, such as fatal and non-fatal heart attack, and stroke, according to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, which published the study.
The researchers followed the patients for a median of 3.8 years and found shockingly high results with 78 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women having abdominal obesity, with waist circumference of 94 centimetres (cm) or above for men, and 80 cm or above for women.
The researchers said that increasing abdominal obesity was independently associated with fatal and non-fatal heart attacks, and strokes.
According to the researchers, waist circumference was a more important marker of recurrent events than overall obesity, even more than other risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure, blood lipids and body mass index (BMI), and secondary prevention treatments, put together.
“The reason abdominal obesity is very common in patients with a first heart attack is that it is closely linked with conditions that accelerate the clogging of arteries through atherosclerosis. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and insulin resistance (diabetes) as well as raised blood lipid levels,” she said.