Obesity is a disease that gets national attention on what seems like a daily basis. That can be a great thing. Sometimes, though, I wonder if it can desensitize us to just how serious a disease it is and how problematic the conditions that accompany it are. In honoring February as Heart Month, I’d like to discuss obesity’s relationship to heart disease and provide some tips on all of the ways a healthy body weight can also help keep you heart healthy too.

According to the American Heart Association: “Even when there are no adverse effects on the known risk factors, obesity by itself increases risk of heart disease.” In a nutshell, what this statement means is that even when a person’s tests come back with normal results and although they may not be feeling the effects of obesity, the simple fact that they ARE obese puts them at increased risk. That’s powerful information. Because sometimes, we can trick ourselves into thinking: “If I don’t feel ill, then I must be fine.” In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Now that we know obesity alone is a major risk indicator for heart disease, what can we do to minimize the risk? The answer is easy: Lose weight. But that can be a monumental task for people 100 pounds or more overweight. Knowing where to begin is important. I’ve talked about this often in other posts, but think it bears repeating here, especially if you’re new to this blog. So, I’m highlighting some of my recent articles on the topics of dieting and weight loss:

Weight Loss Do’s and Don’ts
5 Important Tips for Sticking with Weight Loss Goals
What Cookie Monster can Teach Us About Obesity

If you’ve read these articles already and thought to yourself I’ve tried all of this before, don’t be discouraged. Giving it another and more informed shot may be worth it. Likewise, if you are 100 pounds or more overweight and you’ve failed at traditional dieting in the past, then it may be time to consider bariatric surgery and you can learn all about your options here.

Obesity and heart disease aren’t such an odd couple once you learn about how your body and circulatory system work. Having said that, they’re also not a couple you want to have over for dinner if you can help it. And you CAN help it.

Armed with knowledge and prepared with a plan of action, we all can make our bodies a healthier place for our hearts to beat.