Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Obesity can drive hearts to fail and weaken their structure, study shows

Stock photo of an overweight woman in London (Lauren Hurley/PA)
Stock photo of an overweight woman in London (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Obesity can drive hearts to fail and weaken their structure, new research into heart failure suggests.

The largest study of its kind on 490,000 people found that those with a higher body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio, key signs of carrying too much fat, had around a 30% increased risk of heart failure.

This risk occurred regardless of other risks for heart failure such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

To investigate the reasons why, scientists at Queen Mary University of London, in collaboration with the University of Southampton and the University of Oxford, looked at the cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) scans of over 31,000 of the group.

CMR scans are a type of heart scan used to diagnose and give information on various heart conditions, and the people were chosen at random to have a scan.

The study found that when the heart scans of people with a higher BMI and waist-to-hip ratio were compared with those for people within the healthy range, the hearts of obese people had undergone structural changes.

The heart muscle was found to be thicker, had more signs of scarring and the main pumping chamber was weaker.

All of these changes make it more difficult for the heart to effectively pump blood around the body and could lead to the development of heart failure.

The research, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), was presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester.

Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh, from Queen Mary University of London, who supervised the study, said: “We already know that obesity increases the risk of heart and circulatory diseases that can go on to cause heart failure.

“But now we have revealed that obesity itself could be a driver of hearts starting to fail.

“Further research could provide new insights into the biological mechanisms through which obesity leads to poorer heart health.”

Professor James Leiper, associate medical director at the BHF, said: “This research provides new evidence of the link between obesity and heart failure and forms the basis of further research to understand the mechanisms underpinning the connection between obesity and changes to the heart’s anatomy.”