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Abdominal Obesity May Increase Risk of Second Heart Attack

Abdominal obesity is the presence of excess fat in the abdominal area and is often referred to as belly fat. Previous research has found that abdominal obesity may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and sleep apnea. Now a new study suggests that abdominal obesity may increase the risk of a second heart attack in people who have already had a heart attack.

Participants in the study included 22,882 adults who had had a heart attack. They were followed for an average of 3.8 years after their first heart attack and recurrent heart attacks were recorded. 78% of the male participants and 90% of the female participants had abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity was defined as having a waist circumference of 37 inches or more for men and 31 inches or more for women.

Participants with the most belly fat were found to be at a significantly higher risk of another heart attack compared to those with the least belly fat. The risk was found to be higher in men than women. The increased risk associated with belly fat was found to be independent of other factors such as smoking, diabetes, body mass index, and prevention treatments.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Karolinska Institute. It was published online ahead of print on January 20, 2020 in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

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