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Fat 'may help fight heart disease'

11 June 2015 09:26

A large BMI can actually help some heart disease victims live longer

A large BMI can actually help some heart disease victims live longer

Fat may be an unlikely saviour in the war against heart disease, a new study suggests.

The fatty deposits around blood vessels are the ones which the British Heart Foundation-led (BHF) investigation suggests are key to driving further research forward.

The findings may go towards explaining one of the strangest anomalies in heart studies.

A large Body Mass Index (BMI) can incongruously and statistically help some heart attack victims live longer after their thrombosis than healthy BMI patients.

So how does fat help?

Charalambos Antoniades, a research fellow with the BHF, collected tissue from people undertaking heart surgery.

Analysis of this led Oxford University-based Prof Antoniades to discover how patients' hearts, and their arteries feeding blood to the organ, can convey an SOS signal to fat encircling the tissues.

This sparks a special defence mechanism which guards against the preliminary onset of heart disease.

Fat enclosing the heart and vessels also discharges chemicals which keep down oxidative stress and help to stop heart disease being generated, it is believed.

Oxidative stress relates to a procedure which results in furred arteries.

The fat-released anti-inflammatory chemicals reduce the swelling fuelled by such stress, and help to attack the whole process.

Travel arrangements

Heart disease patients need not always concern themselves about the wisdom of going on holiday - in fact, overseas breaks can be a tonic.

Further peace of mind can be achieved by booking medical travel insurance, which can cover anything from angina to heart disease. This can also cover unexpected surprises.

What the experts say

Prof Antoniades said that despite fat's bad reputation, its good heart health-giving qualities are being increasingly unearthed.

The professor said that the results are a key step towards finding treatments which make sure that such fat remains on-side throughout a person's lifespan, to help stave off heart disease.

Jeremy Pearson, a BHF professor, said there is still much to learn about heart disease.

Just the beginning?

The BHF team are now examining how such processes may not be so strong if a patient's fat is found to be unhealthy.

T his is sometimes the case with type-2 diabetes sufferers.

They are trying to find treatments which would reverse this process to give the fat a constantly positive effect.