The diagnosis of heart disease tends to be accompanied by a rather weighty problem: obesity. It’s regarded as one of the major signs that you may develop heart disease or that your current diagnosis of heart disease may worsen substantially into conditions like congestive heart failure.

How Does Weight Contribute to Heart Disease?

In the updated 2014 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics report published by the American Heart Association (AHA), several startling factors were published pertaining to poor behaviors that led to heart disease. Poor diet and a lack of exercise were major contributors to individuals developing heart disease.

The point to understand about these two activities is that they tend to correlate with a higher-than-healthy weight. A sedentary lifestyle tends to be coupled with a poor diet, which leads to both heart disease and obesity.

Even in individuals not suffering from heart disease, the presence of obesity is considered one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease. This is because of how the two aforementioned factors tend to work hand-in-hand.

For example, an obese person may have difficulty exercising. They may find aerobic activities especially difficult, which then means that they may skip them altogether. This allows their heart to become weaker.

Obese individuals tend to consume more calories from calorie-dense foods that may have a higher amount of saturated fats or simple carbohydrates. These promote conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions that directly contribute to heart disease.

For an individual diagnosed with heart disease, obesity can significantly worsen their prognosis. It can prevent them from reaping the benefits of exercise, receiving the nutrients their body needs to repair itself, and promoting the formation of more fat storage while muscle tissue begins to atrophy as the body cannibalizes it.

This starts a vicious cycle that makes treating heart disease even more difficult.

Obesity Contributing to Other Heart Disease Risks

Being overweight contributes to other factors that can lead to heart disease or make heart disease worse.

Obesity tends to develop in tandem with high blood pressure. This forces the heart to pump more blood, which in turn increases the incidence of blood platelets sticking to the walls of arteries and veins and increases the risk for a person to suffer heart attacks or strokes.

Another set of factors that tend to develop with obesity are known as metabolic disorders. Conditions like diabetes change how the body’s chemistry works, which in turn makes it harder for exercise to be efficient. These conditions can lead to further complications like diabetic neuropathy and a difficulty in blood flow reaching the extremities like the hands and feet.

How Can You Improve Your Heart Health Through Weight Loss?

The good news is that losing weight is one of the most effective ways to promote heart health while fighting the myriad of factors that can make your prognosis worse.

Below are three simple tips that can help you lose weight, improve your life expectancy, and reduce the number of heart-related problems that you might develop in the future.

  1. Eat Wholesome Foods

Packaged snacks and preserved foods tend to be lined with carbohydrates, simple fats and a distinct lack of fiber.

Substituting natural foods like fruits and vegetables can dramatically benefit your heart. You can switch to leaner portions of beef or chicken to further promote a healthy diet that helps your heart.

The best part is that foods that naturally have fiber tend to be metabolized slower by the body. This leaves you feeling full for a longer period after eating, which means that you are less prone to consuming more calories and gaining excess weight.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Developing an exercise routine doesn’t have to be hard. Something as simple as routinely walking around your block for half an hour every day can dramatically improve how well your heart functions.

As you exercise regularly, your body will tend to use energy stored in fat cells rather than breaking down lean muscle mass for energy. This can reduce your weight while making your cardiovascular system stronger and lowering your blood pressure.

  1. Work with Your Physician

The cause of obesity isn’t always clear. There can be extenuating factors that make it hard to lose weight. Hormone levels are a prime example of one thing that can cause an otherwise healthy person to gain excess weight.

The best way to combat these factors is to work with your physician. Be honest with him or her about your diet and exercise habits while working with your physician to develop a personalized fitness plan with any medical treatment you might need to succeed.

When you begin to lose weight, your body will function better. You may even be able to alleviate some of the damage that has been caused and reduce the symptoms of any heart disease that may already be present.

  1. Get Extra Help

Sometimes it’s hard to know what food is good or bad for you.  In some instances, you might benefit from a meal replacement shake or food like HerbaLife Shakes that combine all the nutrients, vitamins, and protein you need to keep you full and healthy. HerbaLife supplements healthy eating and regular exercise to promote weight loss, which is vital for a healthy heart.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who is trying to be healthier this year. She currently writes for AEDs Today, a leading supplier of automatic external defibrillators.