(HealthDay)—Obese people with heart failure may live longer than those who are thinner—especially if they are “metabolically healthy,” a new study suggests.
The study, of more than 3,500 heart failure patients, is the latest to look into the so-called “obesity paradox.” The term refers to a puzzling pattern that researchers have noted for years: Obese patients with heart disease tend to survive longer than their normal-weight counterparts.
“It has consistently been observed in large studies,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, co-chief of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But the mechanisms contributing to this paradox continue to be debated.”
Fonarow was not involved in the new research, but has worked on studies reaching similar conclusions.
The pattern is dubbed a “paradox” because obesity actually raises your risk of developing heart disease in the first place.
So it’s not clear, Fonarow said, why it would be linked to better survival after the disease develops.
In the current study, South Korean researchers followed 3,564 patients who were hospitalized with heart failure symptoms. Overall, about 2,000 were overweight or obese, while more than 1,500 were of normal weight.
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart muscle can no longer pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs. It causes symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue and fluid buildup.