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.

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 July 25, 2014 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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:
from the past week

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