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Certain Risk Factors Could Spur Heart Failure in Normal-Weight People
Date:9/14/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Normal-weight patients diagnosed with a cluster of factors known as the "metabolic syndrome" could face a higher risk for heart failure than even obese patients without such factors, new research suggests.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms -- increased blood pressure, higher-than-normal insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist, high triglycerides and/or abnormal cholesterol levels -- that raise the risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

A healthy metabolic profile, in turn, is marked by the absence of those symptoms, suggesting the major organs systems are in balance.

The new study suggests that being obese is not as much of a threat for heart failure as are those specific factors that typically contribute to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. These include having an "apple shape" (carrying extra weight around the middle and upper part of the body) and developing insulin resistance, leading to an unhealthful spike in blood sugar and blood lipid (fat) levels.

Study lead author Dr. Christina Voulgari, from the first department of cardiology at Athens University Medical School at Hippokration Hospital in Athens, Greece, said that the findings suggest that "we should focus not on weight loss at any given cost but (on) a healthier lifestyle" -- one, for example, that embraces exercise and eschews smoking.

Voulgari, also with Laiko General Hospital in Athens, and colleagues report their findings in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The authors explained that their investigation arose out of interest in those who are exceptions to the rule: those individuals who maintain a healthy metabolic profile despite being obese.

While metabolic syndrome and obesity more often than not go hand in hand, some obese patients buck the trend by retaining h
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