Washington: Overweight adolescents without symptoms of heart disease may already be suffering from cardiac damage, according to a new research.
Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and previous research has shown that obese adults have structural and functional changes to their hearts.
The current study has investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cardiac function in overweight and obese adolescents with no symptoms of heart disease.
97 healthy teenagers had their weight, height, waist circumference and hip circumference BMI measured and calculated.
Based on their BMI, patients were divided into three groups: lean (L=32 patients), overweight (Ov=33 patients) and obese (Ob=32 patients).
Also, several measures of heart size were made using information from the echocardiogram
The analysis of data collected revealed that Interventricular septal and left ventricular posterior wall thickness increased as BMI increased.
When the heart function were measured, it was found that left ventricular early diastolic lateral and septal velocities were reduced only in obese adolescents.
Besides this, systolic velocities were also only reduced in obese adolescents
It was discovered that obese adolescents with no symptoms of heart disease had damaged hearts with thicker walls.
The systolic and diastolic functions of their hearts were also found to be impaired.
Also, the relative wall thickness and left ventricular mass index increased in parallel to BMI. Moreover, both structural and functional measures correlated with BMI.
This is why these findings may explicate why obesity is a risk for heart disease.
"Education on healthy food and exercise is needed in schools to prevent obesity and early cardiovascular disease in adolescents," said lead author Professor Gani Bajraktari, professor of internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Pristina in Kosovo.
"This is an important step in preventing obesity and cardiovascular disease in adults," he added.