3 Heart-Healthy Benefits of Losing Weight

August 1, 2023
3 Heart-Healthy Benefits of Losing Weight

Why losing weight is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy.

Carrying extra weight takes a toll on your body and can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  One of the very best things you can do to keep your heart healthier is to lose weight—and even a small amount of weight loss can help. Weighing less also helps prevent other serious health problems, such as diabetes and arthritis, and may improve your quality of life.

If you need another reason to drop some excess weight, consider these 3 benefits for your heart:

  1. Lower blood pressure. Losing even just 5-10% of your body weight can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. When you weigh less, your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. This can help you keep your blood pressure under control or may allow you to lower or eliminate medications you take to manage high blood pressure.
  2. Reduce cholesterol. There's no absolute correlation between how much you weigh and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but when you lose weight, you're more likely to reduce your LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increase your HDL ("good") cholesterol and lower your triglycerides. This means there's less fat floating through your blood vessels that can turn into artery-clogging plaque.
  3. Prevent metabolic syndrome. Weight loss can lower your risk of metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess body fat around the waist. Metabolic syndrome is expected to become the leading risk factor for heart disease due to rising obesity rates in the U.S. (approximately 70% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese) and one of the best ways to avoid or reverse metabolic syndrome is to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising.

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Date Last Reviewed: October 1, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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