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Abdominal Fat Increases Chronic Heart Failure Risk

Distribution of fat around the midriff a greater risk factor than overall obesity for older people

FRIDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- In older people, carrying extra fat around the abdomen may be a stronger risk factor for chronic heart failure (CHF) than overall obesity, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Barbara J. Nicklas, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data on body composition, visceral adipose tissue and CHF for 2,435 adults (1,081 men and 1,354 women) aged 70 to 79, none of whom were diagnosed with coronary heart disease or CHF at baseline. During the median follow-up of 6.4 years, there were 166 confirmed cases of CHF.

All variables of adiposity, including body mass index (BMI), were significant predictors of development of CHF. However, in a model including both waist circumference and BMI, the size of the waist was associated with incident CHF, while BMI was not.

"Traditionally, the most important risk factors for the development of CHF in the general population are age, ischemic heart disease, systolic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal dysfunction, inflammation, atrial fibrillation, left ventricular hypertrophy and high pulse pressure. These data contribute to the growing body of evidence that excess adipose tissue, particularly in the abdominal region, should be added to this list," the authors conclude.

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