HCA Midwest Health - October 23, 2017

Losing a little weight sure can improve the shape of your body. And it's a great way to improve your heart's physique, too.

A small study found that losing a relatively modest amount of weight—just four to seven percent of a person's body weight—could help reverse some of the unhealthy physical effects that obesity has on the heart muscle.

A change of heart

When you pile on too many pounds, it affects not only your waist size but also your heart size. The heart muscle gets thicker. And that's not good, because when the heart muscle gets too thick, it has a harder time pumping and relaxing -- which can put you on the fast track to problems like heart failure. But in a study of obese people, imaging studies revealed that a little weight loss actually improved the heart's structure and function.

Weight loss wonders

Researchers aren't exactly sure how losing weight helps transform the heart muscle, but weight loss benefits to blood pressure, insulin resistance and inflammatory protein levels likely play a role.