According to a new study, having too much body fat makes arteries become stiff after middle age.
In young people, blood vessels appear to be able to compensate for the effects of obesity. But after middle age, this adaptability is lost, and arteries become progressively stiffer as body fat rises – potentially increasing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
The researchers suggest that the harmful effects of body fat may be related to the total number of years that a person is overweight in adulthood. Further research is needed to find out when the effects of obesity lead to irreversible damage to the heart and arteries, they said.
Obesity is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease, but the reasons for this are not fully understood.