Advertisement

How does obesity contribute to cardiovascular disease?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Obesity and being overweight are primary risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. Being overweight or obese means that you have extra body fat. This adds to your total weight, placing extra stress on your cardiovascular system. If you weigh more than your ideal body weight and/or have a high body mass index (BMI), you are more likely to have high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. Each of these conditions contributes to plaques building up in the blood vessels and heart, which is what causes cardiovascular disease.

Carrying around too much body weight puts a strain on your heart and also contributes to risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Obesity makes it more difficult to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. It also contributes to inflammation and sleep apnea. 
Men and women who are overweight are about 20 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Being obese - more than 20 percent above ideal body weight - is even more dangerous. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent in men and 64 percent in women.

Continue Learning about Heart Disease

Lose Weight, Improve Your Heart Muscle
Lose Weight, Improve Your Heart Muscle
Losing a little weight sure can improve the shape of your body. And it's a great way to improve your heart's physique, too. A small study found that ...
Read More
Are women at greater risk for heart disease?
Dr. Michael W. Gen, MDDr. Michael W. Gen, MD
The risk is equal for everyone because heart disease is so widespread. Focusing on women is importan...
More Answers
6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference
6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference6 Heart-Healthy Habits for Women That Truly Make a Difference
Heart disease rates have been dropping steadily for everyone but younger women. Here’s how to reverse that trend.
Start Slideshow
What Are Some Diseases and Conditions Caused by Obesity?
What Are Some Diseases and Conditions Caused by Obesity?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.