Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heavy Meals May Trigger Heart Attacks

Date:
November 21, 2000
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
An unusually heavy meal may increase the risk of heart attack by about four times within two hours after eating, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2000. Researchers say this finding indicates that eating a heavy meal may act as a trigger for heart attack in much the same way as extreme physical exertion and outbursts of anger might – especially in someone who has heart disease.

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14 – An unusually heavy meal may increase the risk of heart attack by about four times within two hours after eating, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2000.

Related Articles


Researchers say this finding indicates that eating a heavy meal may act as a trigger for heart attack in much the same way as extreme physical exertion and outbursts of anger might – especially in someone who has heart disease.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that overeating by itself has been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks,” says lead author Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., M.Sc., a cardiology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “We hope that the results of our study will help convince people to be more cautious about eating exceptionally heavy meals, especially for people who have coronary artery disease or have suffered a previous heart attack.”

The researchers questioned 1,986 male and female patients about the meals they had eaten just prior to their heart attacks. Of these, 158 had consumed a self-described heavy meal within 26 hours beforehand, and 25 had eaten a big meal during a two-hour “hazard period” preceding the attacks. The time of day when the meal was eaten had no apparent effect on the association.

While the study data covered the 26-hour period before the onset of heart attacks, Lopez-Jimenez says the most critical time was the two hours immediately preceding the onset of heart attack symptoms. Although there is a distinct difference between risk factors that develop over a lifetime – such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and advanced age – and those that act as sudden triggers for a heart attack, both are potentially dangerous, he adds.

There are several ways that a heavy meal can adversely affect the heart. Eating and digesting food releases many hormones into the bloodstream. Those substances increase the heart rate and blood pressure, and may increase the substances that help form clots. The temporary rise in blood pressure increases the oxygen requirements and creates an extra burden on the heart. High blood pressure may also rupture cholesterol plaques in the arterial wall, triggering the formation of a clot that can block a blood vessel, triggering a heart attack or stroke.

Another mechanism could be that a high-fat meal impairs the function of the endothelium, the inner lining of the arteries, by a direct effect of fatty acids and other fats in the bloodstream. The rise in insulin, a substance that helps the body burn energy, after a large meal may also affect the inner lining of the blood vessels that lead to the heart. An increase in insulin levels in the blood decreases the normal relaxation of the coronary arteries.

Other researchers participating in the study include Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., D.P.H.; Malcolm Maclure, Ph.D.; Jane B. Sherwood, R.N.; James E. Muller, M.D., and Geoffrey H. Tofler, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Heavy Meals May Trigger Heart Attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001120072759.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2000, November 21). Heavy Meals May Trigger Heart Attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001120072759.htm
American Heart Association. "Heavy Meals May Trigger Heart Attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001120072759.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

Woman Convicted of Poisoning Son

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman who blogged for years about her son&apos;s constant health woes was convicted Monday of poisoning him to death by force-feeding heavy concentrations of sodium through his stomach tube. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins