Weight Loss Therapy for Atherosclerosis Management

by Amrita Surendranath on  December 17, 2015 at 2:24 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
Obesity and body fat play a significant role in increasing the risk for cardiac ailments.
Weight Loss Therapy for Atherosclerosis Management
Weight Loss Therapy for Atherosclerosis Management

Atherosclerosis is one such cardiac disease that is caused due to the deposition of fat in the blood vessels of the heart and is directly proportional to the fat content in the body.

Facts about Obesity and Atherosclerosis

Considering the above statistics, it is evident that maintaining a normal weight is essential to lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease. Another important sequel to the facts are that if increase in body weight could result in the development of atherosclerosis, would losing weight aid in improving atherosclerosis?

‘Weight loss is associated with reversal of symptoms of atherosclerosis.’
To understand if this was true, scientists Kuat Oshakbayev and colleagues studied the influence of weight loss on the degree of atherosclerosis. They performed the study on 97 people after dividing them into two groups, one group followed a non-drug weight loss program while the other group was on conventional drugs.

The weight loss program included:
  • Calorie intake of 100-150Kcal/day
  • Consumption of fat-free vegetables
  • Salt diet
  • Physical exercises of at least 10,000 steps per day
Out of the 97 patients included in the study, 31 patients were included in the group for weight loss program. All of them had atherosclerosis, some with familial history and for as long as 12 years. The patients had significant abdominal fat and were receiving drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis prior to the study.

The other group under study which was used as the control group continued with their conventional drug therapy,
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Antihypertensive
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Other symptomatic therapy
The duration of the study for the group on the drug-free weight loss program was between 2 to 6 months, depending upon the physical state of the study patient as well as the stage of the disease. Patients in this group were asked to walk 10,000 steps per day, which aided in improving blood circulation as well as removing endogen metabolic toxin. Initially, the patients began to reduce the intake of conventional drugs 2 to 3 days after starting the weight loss program and completely stopped taking the drugs 7 to 10 days on.

Study Group Reactions to the Weight Loss Program

There were a series of emotional and physical roadblocks that the study group faced and had to overcome in order to taste the benefits of the program. Such emotional upheavals would similarly be met by a more general population undertaking physical regimens to lose weight. Recognition of this aspect of a weight loss program should be highlighted to help people understand that it is completely normal to feel like it is a huge struggle initially, but it becomes less intense over time and effort.

1. During the first couple of days, study group patients complained of:
  • Fear due to changed diets
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Abdominal and lower extremities tremor
  • Extreme hunger pangs
  • Mild dizziness
2. On the 3 - 5 day after the start of the program, urine turned turbid and muddy due to urates, carbonates of calcium and magnesium.

3. 4 to 10 days after the start of the program, there was an increase in:
  • Body temperature
  • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
  • Leukocyte rate in blood
4. 7 to 10 days after starting the weight loss program, the study patient completely quits consumption of drugs meant for atherosclerosis

5. The symptoms of atherosclerosis began to lower as the weight loss program progressed:
  • Blood flow to extremities improved
  • Angina pectoris was absent
  • Systolic output was increased
  • There was a reduction in mental fatigue as well as an improvement in memory among patients with cerebral stroke and Alzheimer's
  • Tolerance to exercise improved
The study patients who were part of the weight loss group lost considerable weight which resulted in the reversal of symptoms of atherosclerosis. Patients who were successful in maintaining their weight were tested a year later and still showed no signs of atherosclerosis. However, patients who regained weight began to show signs of atherosclerosis, which were reversed when they lost weight again.

This research study is an important milestone in determining the effect of weight loss on atherosclerosis. It lays stress on maintaining an ideal weight which is of prime importance in thefast food world, where exercise is ignored, and consumption of high-fat food attracts greater risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Fat that is not utilized by the body is stored and as the body cannot store all the fat that is consumed endlessly, it leads to toxic situations where symptoms of cardiovascular disease arise.

An effective weight loss program, according to the study, should factor in a good exercise regimen as well as a balanced diet for good health. People with cardiovascular disease should be encouraged to exercise to reduce their risk.

The highlights of the program are:
  • Low-fat diet to restrict intake of excessive fats that the body will not require
  • When fats are stored for a long time in the body, it leads to aging of fat. Physical exercise to break down the "old stored fat"
  • Loss of fatty mass and not lean mass
  • The adipose tissue stores organic pollutants, when the fat is broken down, endogenic metabolic toxins are released. This can lead to some adverse effects during the first few days of beginning the program.
One of the most critical factors of evolution was the ability to store fat to help tide over periods of starvation. However, with the advent of cooking, the necessity to store fat for long periods becomes unnecessary. On the other hand, excessive storage of fat lays additional stress on blood vessels as their sizes are reduced with obstruction of flow. The body as a defense mechanism leads to hypertension, allergy or hyperthermia. Such diseases are natural progressions of excess fat in the body, therefore weight loss is conclusively the key to good health for overweight people.

Source: Medindia

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