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Extra Pounds May Offer Protection to Heart Failure Patients
Date:7/5/2012

THURSDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure patients who are carrying extra pounds have a lower risk of death and other heart failure-related health outcomes than thin or normal-weight patients, new research suggests.

Researchers call it the "obesity paradox." Obesity raises the risk of developing heart failure, but once people have it, excess weight is associated with lower risk of death, of needing a heart transplant and other problems, the researchers said.

In the study, researchers from University of California, Los Angeles analyzed information on about 2,700 heart failure patients who had their body mass index measured at the beginning of treatment and 469 patients who had their waist circumference measured.

Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of height and weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 and up is obese.

Waist circumference measures fat accumulated around the belly, according to the researchers.

In the study, patients with a BMI of 25 or up were considered to have a high BMI. For men, 40 inches or more indicated a high waist circumference, while for women, 37 inches or more was considered high.

After two years, men with a high waist circumference and a high BMI were more likely to survive and were less likely to need a heart transplant. Similarly, women with a higher BMI also had better results than normal-weight women, while those with a large waist circumference "trended" toward better results, the researchers said.

In contrast, men with a normal BMI and smaller waist circumference had a 34 percent higher risk for adverse outcomes and normal-weight women had a 38 percent higher risk for adverse outcomes.

"The study provides us with more insight about how both genders of heart failure patients may be impacted by the obesity paradox," study senior author Dr. Tamara Horwich, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen S
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