Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fat Around The Heart May Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks

Date:
July 31, 2008
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
When it comes to risk for a heart attack, having excess fat around the heart may be worse than having a high body mass index or a thick waist, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues reporting in the August issue of the journal Obesity.

When it comes to risk for a heart attack, having excess fat around the heart may be worse than having a high body mass index or a thick waist, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues reporting in the August issue of the journal Obesity.

Related Articles


The study was among the first to explore whether there is a link between fat deposits around the heart, known as pericardial fat, and the development of hard, calcified plaque in the arteries. Calcified plaque itself is not considered risky, but it is associated with the presence of less stable fatty deposits that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

"The distribution of body fat may be as important as the amount of body fat in determining risk of heart attacks," said Jingzhong Ding, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of gerontology. "Even a thin person can have fat around the heart."

The researchers examined data from the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a $68 million study involving 6,800 participants nationwide, to explore their hypothesis that fat around the arteries in the heart contributes to inflammation and to increased risk of fatty deposits in the vessels.

In addition to its role as energy storage, fat is considered to be an "organ" that produces proteins and hormones that affect metabolism and health. Ding's study is based on a new idea in medicine – that excess fat around the heart and other organs may impair their function. Pericardial fat, or stores of fat around the heart, is known to have a higher secretion of inflammatory cytokines, proteins that regulate inflammation, than fat stored just under the skin. The scientists suspect that constant exposure of inflammatory proteins produced by fat around the heart may accelerate the development of atherosclerosis.

For the analysis, the researchers measured the volume of pericardial fat in 159 study participants who were 55 to 74 years old. Calcified coronary plaque was observed in 58 percent of participants. Participants were divided into four groups based on the volume of pericardial fat. Those in the group with the highest levels of fat were almost five times (4.65) more likely to have calcified coronary plaque.

The scientists found that while the volume of pericardial fat was related to levels of calcified coronary plaque, body mass index and waist circumference were not related.

"Our findings suggest that local fat deposits, rather than total body fat, are most related to calcified coronary plaque," said Ding. "Inflammatory mediators released from pericardial fat may promote inflammation in local coronary arteries and lead to coronary atherosclerosis."

Ding hopes to continue the research to learn more about whether the buildup of fat around the heart can be prevented.

"Because coronary heart disease kills so many people, it is imperative to find new treatments and prevention strategies," he said.

The study was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Wake Forest University Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.

Co-researchers were Stephen Kritchevsky, Ph.D., Gregory Burke, M.D., and Jeffrey Carr, M.D., all with Wake Forest, Tamara Harris, M.D., National Institute on Aging, Robert C. Detrano, M.D., Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and Moyses Szklo, M.D., the Johns Hospkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Fat Around The Heart May Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080730140611.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2008, July 31). Fat Around The Heart May Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080730140611.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Fat Around The Heart May Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080730140611.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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