Overweight confers longer life expectancy for certain conditions

Obesity Campaign Poster
Obesity Campaign Poster (Photo credit: Pressbound)

My bee antennae shot up when I saw this honey headline: “Obese heart failure patients do better than lean ones.” A decent-sized study (8000 patients) done over 3 years by Yale University School of Medicine, showed a protective effect for heart failure patients who were overweight or obese.

Being someone who tips the scale somewhat beyond the guidelines, as well as a person with heart failure, I’m happy to read this. Apparently, doctors are stumped about it and speculating all over the place as to what this might mean.

Here’s an in-depth article on how obese patients with certain CV conditions actually have better short- and long-term prognoses. http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1139724 The CV conditions include hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart failure and peripheral artery disease. In addition, a significant number of non-cardiovascular conditions seem to exhibit the same “obesity paradox.” They include being elderly or having end-stage renal disease with dialysis, advanced cancers, COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease), rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS.

In other words, data show that being overweight or even obese seems inescapably to be conferring a protective effect on people with many different conditions. The article speculates on why this might be. What I think from a quick read (and of course with no medical training) is that it’s simply pointing out all the many ways in which the verdict is still out regarding some of medicine’s long-held beliefs about diseases and conditions.

And just to throw another spanner in, check out the “new German medicine” approach that posits that severe emotional shocks can lead to diseases like cancer – and that such conditions can and do spontaneously heal themselves if we let them alone.

Let’s face it. For more than a few health issues, we just don’t have all the information yet.

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