A study conducted in Vermont has yielded more evidence that weight loss reduces the risk of illness and death due to heart disease.
Obese postmenopausal women who lost a substantial amount of weight showed significantly lower blood levels of C- reactive protein (CRP), a marker of heart disease risk, according to the study results.
CRP is an inflammatory protein released in response to infection or injury. Persistent elevation of CRP is thought to raise the risk of heart disease.
That happens because CRP and other similar substances known as cytokines tend to attract cells to the site of inflammation. This contributes to the formation of cholesterol deposits inside arteries, thus increasing the risk of illness and death from heart disease, and making the deposits prone to rupture, which is what causes a heart attack.
Researchers at the University in Vermont in Burlington analyzed blood samples taken during a weight-loss study that had been conducted earlier.
The study involved 25 white postmenopausal women, all of whom met the medical definition of obesity. During several months on a supervised diet, the women lost an average of 33 pounds. They lost an average 25% of their fat mass.
Furthermore, the women’s blood levels of CRP declined by close to one-third. Overall, the reduction was greater than could have occurred by chance, and proportional to changes in body weight and fat mass.
“Weight loss may represent an important intervention to reduce CRP levels,” the research team concludes. And the reduction in CRP levels was just one indication of lowered risk of illness and death from heart disease, they said.
“So several risk factors are changing in a favorable way with weight loss,” researchers commented.
Copyright 2013 The Almagest
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