Adolescents who are obese are more likely than their normal weight counterparts to have silent and symptomless heart problems, researchers warn.
It has been known for a long time that adult people with obesity are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease and death but a new preliminary study has raised the alarm for the younger people as well.
Dr. Gani Bajraktari and colleagues at the University of Pristina in Kosovo who studied 97 asymptomatic teenagers found that the obese adolescents had some higher levels of heart damage and thicker heart walls which impaired the organ’s faction.
The findings suggestes that higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with thicker left ventricular walls and impaired systolic and diastolic function, according to the presentation delivered at the Heart Failure Congress in Belgrade, Serbia.
“It means an early sign of heart failure,” says co-author Dr. Dejan Maras of Luton and Dunstable Hospital in Luton, UK. He warns that these patients may become symptomatic, including shortness of breath on exertion and poor exercise tolerance.
The scientists say that further studies are needed to support their findings and examine that whether the obesity related heart damages are reversible after losing excessive weight.
However, the findings highlight that preventing obesity in young people would be the best strategy to prevent associated risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
“Education on healthy food and exercise is needed in schools to prevent obesity and early cardiovascular disease in adolescents,” said Dr. Bajraktari. “This is an important step in preventing obesity and cardiovascular disease in adults.”