chapter  34
20 Pages

Effects of Obesity on the Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in industrialized countries, and in the United States, cardiovascular disease accounts for f50% of all deaths (1). Obesity increases risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (CHF), arrhythmia, sudden death, and several other cardiovascular diseases (Table 1). Obesity promotes several traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and in addition considerable attention has been devoted to defining the pathogenic role of excess weight that is independent of traditional risk factors. Obesity has recently been found to be associated with several nontraditional risk factors, such as disturbances in fibrinolysis, impaired endothelial function, and chronic low-grade inflammation. Regardless of themechanism, it is clear that obesity is associated with deleterious effects on the heart and circulatory system.