Being obese could actually improve the chances of survival after a heart attack because excess fat appears to fight heart disease, a study has shown.
Scientists have been puzzled as to why people classed as very overweight lived longer after a heart attack than those with a healthy Body Mass Index.
However, a study of tissue collected from patients undergoing heart surgery found that fat surrounding damaged blood vessels releases chemicals that start to battle heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland, killing about 10,000 people each year. It develops when the heart’s blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
It was thought that all fat was bad for people with heart disease, but it seems that over a certain level it starts to have a protective effect. So, although obese people are more likely to have heart disease or a heart attack, they are also more likely to survive.
Charalambos Antoniades, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “Fat has a bad reputation but we’re learning more and more about how and why certain types of fat in the body are actually essential for good heart health. These findings are an important step towards a treatment.”
(© Daily Telegraph, London)