/publications/issue/2004/2004-06/2004-06-7963

Big Women, Big Hearts?

Author: Susan Farley

A study of young, healthy, but obese women showed signs of heart enlargement as well as an abnormality in the contraction and relaxation of the heart. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo, studied the hearts of 51 women aged 21 to 37. Of these subjects, 20 were considered obese (their body mass index was greater than 30).Among the nonobese women, the average weight of the left side of their hearts was 128 g, compared with 161 g in the obese patients. In the report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the authors noted other differences in the dimensions of the heart among the obese subjects, along with abnormal contraction and relaxation. These differences could be potentially dangerous in patients with high blood pressure.