Obesity Independently Tied to Risk of Fatal Heart Attack

Increased weight confers greater risk of fatal heart disease, separate from known risk factors

TUESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is independently associated with fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), irrespective of other known biological or social risk factors, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Heart.

Jennifer Logue, M.D., of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the independent association of body mass index (BMI) with fatal and nonfatal CHD risk. They used data from the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS) to relate BMI in 6,082 men with hypercholesterolemia to the risk of both fatal and nonfatal CHD events. Men with diabetes or cardiovascular disease at baseline were excluded. After excluding participants who experienced any event in the first two years, there were 1,027 nonfatal and 214 fatal CHD events during 14.7 years of follow-up. Two models were used to evaluate risk: a minimally adjusted model (age, sex, statin treatment) and a maximally adjusted model (including known heart disease risk factors and social deprivation).

The researchers found the risk of death from CHD was significantly higher in the men who were obese. Even when the traditional risk factors were accounted for, men with a BMI of 30.0 to 39.9 kg/m² still had a 60 percent higher risk of a fatal heart attack. However, the risk of nonfatal events did not increase with increasing weight.

"This study suggests that obesity is associated with an increased risk of fatal CHD events after adjustment for known cardiovascular risk factors and deprivation," the authors write.

The WOSCOPS trial and follow-up were funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sankyo.

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