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Is there an « obesity paradox » of cardiac survival in heart disease?

Abdominal obesity is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. However, an ‘obesity paradox’ phenomenon has been identified.

International Farm Machinery Show 2003 in Paris. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe
Updated on 03/16/2018
Published on 02/09/2018

Epidemiological studies have clearly shown that obese people display a higher risk for severe pathologies, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc. However,when obese individuals contract one of these illnesses, they have more chance to remain alive. This is the « obesity paradox ».

The phenomenon has partly been explained by a higher substrate availability to augmented muscle and fat masses, thus permitting greater resistance to injury and capacity for adaptive remodelling and survival. However,recent research advances show that substrate utilization is probably not the only parameter contributing to the obesity paradox. This book written by Luc Demaison and Evangelia Mourmoura, summarizes data obtained in the Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetic and the Human Nutrition Laboratory, showing that obesity triggers molecular changes at the cardiac level which can partly explain the obesity paradox.

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Demaison, L., Mourmoura, E. (2018). Is there an ‘obesity paradox’ of cardiac survival in heart disease? A perspective from experimental laboratory studies.