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Modest weight gain may have serious consequences

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have put on even a modest amount of weight may benefit from seeking blood pressure and cholesterol testing to assess their risk of heart disease. A new study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic has shown that gaining as little as nine pounds of fat in the midsection may significantly increase the risk of heart health problems.

Investigators measured this effect by testing the blood flow through arteries in the arms of 43 healthy participants. They then assigned half the subjects to maintain their current body mass, while instructing the others to gain weight for a period of eight weeks.

Individuals who gained weight around their abdominal area showed signs of poor blood flow regulation as indicated by endothelial dysfunction - a condition in which the arterial cells that control the constriction and expansion of blood vessels are impaired.

"Patients should know that having a big belly may be more harmful than simply being obese," said lead researcher, Virend Somers "Letting weight creep on during college or as the result of aging should not be accepted as normal."

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