Fat Helps in a Heart Attack, But Don't Be Fat
Michelle and many other folks pointed me to a 2005 Duke University study stating that fat people fared better after heart attacks than non-fat people.
A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Medicine by scientists at Duke University examined nearly 16,000 people in 37 countries. The authors found that one year after a heart attack, the death rate for normal-weight patients was 4.3 percent. For obese patients, it was just 2.2 percent.
Several other studies have confirmed those findings, including a paper last month in the European Heart Journal. German and Swiss doctors tracked more than 1,600 patients for three years after their heart attacks, and concluded that only 3.6 percent of fat patients had died, against nearly 10 percent of normal-weight patients.
Essentially, researchers admit they have no idea why this is because fat is often cited as a cause for heart attacks. The amount of FUD in this piece is rather stunning. AP author Maria Cheng puts it this way:
However, experts warn, the results should not be used as an excuse for the overweight to indulge.
Indulge. Yes. That's what The Fat People do. We indulge all the time. Indulge, indulge, indulge.
"We really don't want people to think that they should put on a bit of weight to have a better chance with their bypass surgery," said Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Florida and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
"These results do not mean it's OK to be fat. Being fat is still dangerous to your health for lots of other reasons," Fletcher said.
Fletcher added, "But I won't list them here because everyone assumes that it's public knowledge and I don't need to because you're all scared enough... just don't be fat, okay? And don't gain weight, ever, mmkay?"
"It could be that the hearts of obese people are 'pre-conditioned' because they're under more stress in the first place," said Dr. Andrew Newby, a professor of vascular biology at Bristol Heart Institute and spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology. Newby said that fat people who had heart attacks might be better able to withstand the initial shock to the system.
Is Newby suggesting, in a veiled way, that fat people are... stronger? It could be interpreted that way; he sees it as a bad thing.
The crazy part of this, though, is that even though this study shows that fat people are in a better spot post-heart attack... doctors still recommend weight loss.
Some suggested that fat people who have heart attacks can markedly improve their survival odds if they make some major lifestyle changes, an option that normal-weight patients may not have.
Yes, because "normal-weight" patients can't do anything.
"Even moderate weight loss can have a big impact," said Dr. Heinz Buettner of the Heart Centre in Bad Krozingen in Germany. "Obese patients have a better chance to correct their situation compared to thin patients who may just have bad genes."
Wait, whoa, what? Wow. Dr. Buettner's opinion of fat is laid bare here: he really does think we're all just eating too much. Thin people? It's genetic. Fat people? It's indulgence. This is a pretty ridiculous argument.
Because obesity can lead to other dangers â€” including high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer â€” the apparent survival advantage fat people have after a heart attack might be erased by something worse down the line.
"Obese patients may get lucky after one heart attack, but they are still high-risk patients," said Fletcher. "If they stay fat after their surgery, they could end up back in the hospital soon and more bad things could happen."
MORE BAD THINGS! No, seriously, this is in the article. He's not specific, not telling us what's up - just MORE BAD THINGS. And the whole sentiment of the article - from it being "luck" (even though it's in a study, and studies usually don't count on luck, Doctor) to "indulge" to "you're going to get (insert disease here)" - is one of fear, despite a bit of evidence that fat can help.
Irresponsible, shoddy reporting and fear mongering.