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St. John Hospital Study Finds Link Between Obesity and Narrowing Arteries

St. John Hospital & Medical Center: Detroit
Cardiac Care
Monday, March 26, 2012

St. John Hospital Study Finds Link Between Obesity and Narrowing Arteries

Contact: Brian Taylor, 586-753-0726.

Detroit, Mich.- Patients with a higher body mass index are more likely to have narrowing in their carotid arteries, according to a study from St. John Hospital that was presented in Chicago at the America College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Sessions. In addition, the study also determined that using BMI is the best way to measure whether someone is at risk for carotid artery disease.

The study involved 150 patients without known heart or blood vessel disease that were seen in the progressive care unit at St. John for chest pain. Ultra-sound was used to measure the thickness of the walls of the patient’s carotid arteries and obesity was measured in a variety of ways including waist size, percentage of body fat and BMI. Doctors found that patients with an increased BMI had increased thickening of the carotid wall, a sign of increased risk of hardening of the arteries.

Body Mass Index is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. People with a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight and those with a BMI of 30 and above are considered obese.

“The take home message from this study for patients is know your BMI, “says Gerald Cohen M.D., St. John Hospital cardiologist and the principal investigator of the study. “Two-thirds of adults are obese and overweight, a condition that is associated with the major causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The effect of obesity has generally been thought to be due to hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and other risk factors. Our study is one of few that also show that the effect of being overweight on atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.”

St. John Hospital and Medical Center, a member of St. John Providence Health and the St. John Providence Heart and Vascular Care Center of Excellence, is involved in heart and vascular research and treatment, and home to the W. Warren Shelden Heart and Circulatory Center.