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In Diabetes Patients, Abdominal Obesity a Strong Predictor for Left Ventricle Dysfunction

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In Diabetes Patients, Abdominal Obesity a Strong Predictor for Left Ventricle Dysfunction
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A recent collaborative study between the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and Johns Hopkins University suggested that type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients who have abdominal obesity, with a body shape typical of an apple rather than a pear, have a higher risk of developing heart disease. The results of the study were reported April 2 at the 2016 American College of Cardiology Scientific Session in Chicago.

Commonly, people with an apple-shaped body tend to have an excess of body fat in the abdominal area. This type of body morphology is usually associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and other health-related problems. Examples of these risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high sugar and cholesterol levels. Abdominal obesity is also associated with coronary artery disease and heart failure. Now, researchers also show that it can be a strong predictor for left ventricular dysfunction.

The research study included a total of 200 diabetic individuals, both male and female, who had never been diagnosed with a coronary disease. Participants underwent computed tomography screenings and echocardiography to assess their left ventricular function.

Left ventricular dysfunction is a common cause of heart disease and heart failure, which occurs when there is a dysfunction in the left ventricle of the heart, compromising the blood flow into the lungs and lower extremities.

Brent Muhlestein, the research co-director at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said the study revealed that the shape of the body of someone with diabetes could determine the risk of developing a heart-related disease.

“This study confirms that having an apple-shaped body — or a high waist circumference — can lead to heart disease, and that reducing your waist size can reduce your risks,” Muhlestein said in an Intermountain Healthcare news release.

The research team identified a clear correlation between weight gain and ventricular function, which corroborated the results of a previous study published by the same group, called FaCTor-64. This first study showed a direct connection between body mass index (BMI) and the risk of developing heart disease in patients with diabetes, which led researchers to advise patients about lifestyle changes that could be implemented to reduce the risk of heart attack.

According to the study’s principal investigator, Boaz D. Rosen, M.D., from Johns Hopkins, the new study’s results suggest that abdominal obesity might be a stronger predictor for left ventricle dysfunction than total body weight, or BMI. Additional studies should be done to validate these findings, researchers said.

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