Underweight people at high risk for heart disease: Study

Hello Sehat (Jakarta Post)

Jakarta ●
Wed September 21, 2016

Many people assume that cardiovascular or heart disease and blood vessel diseases only threaten overweight people. In fact, cardiovascular disease is influenced by many factors other than excess weight.

A person is considered underweight if their body mass index (BMI) is less than 18.5. A lack of weight can be caused by malnutrition, infection or genetics.

Keep in mind that overweight and obesity aren’t the only conditions that can cause cardiovascular disease, which is actually usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle characterized by smoking, lack of physical activity, or high intake of fats or salt, which cause high blood pressure and fat deposition around the veins and heart.

Lean people at risk

Many recent studies show that people who are underweight also suffer from cardiovascular disease and are at higher risk than those with a normal BMI. A study from Bali shows that people who are underweight are 3.6 times more likely to experience coronary disease than those of normal weight. If the coronary artery is affected, people who are underweight are at greater risk of premature death than those who are normal weight or overweight.

Research from 2013 shows that women with coronary heart disease are twice as likely as their healthy counterparts to die prematurely. It also shows that for overweight people who are not gaining weight, the risk of coronary artery-related death drops by 64%. Meanwhile, underweight people who continue to lose weight are at increased risk of death.

Causes of cardiovascular disease in underweight people

Here are the many causes that can lead to cardiovascular disease in people who are underweight:

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease is indicated by poor heart function due to a disorder of the valve wall and/or arteries of the heart. According to research, people with congenital heart disease and low body weight are 12 times more at risk of cardiovascular disease.

(Also read: Why a big belly is more dangerous than being overweight)

Lack of physical activity

There is a tendency not to engage in physical activity among underweight people. Physical activity is one way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A lack of physical activityon the other hand, can cause fat deposition in the blood that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Low body fat with poor eating habits

It’s easy to be low body fat and have bad eating habits. Underweight people tend not to worry about eating fast food and not finding a balance. Even if it doesn’t immediately show in their body, they can still have high blood sugar.

abdominal fat

A condition known as central obesity is not uncommon in people with low body weight. Compared to evenly distributed fat, people who have fat around the abdomen are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those with regular obesity.

Low serum hemoglobin

One of the conditions that cause heart disease is a lack of serum hemoglobin (Hb). This condition is higher in people who are underweight. Research from Ethiopia in 2015 showed that Hb levels can significantly affect heart failure and that normal serum Hb levels reduce the risk of heart failure by 23%.

Body weight is not the only cause of cardiovascular disease. The overall health of your body, as well as your diet and physical activity, are things you need to pay attention to in order to maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels, whether you are underweight, normal, or overweight. (kes)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Jakarta Post.