Roundup: Those 'Fat But Fit' Have Higher Heart Disease Risk; Epilepsy on the Rise in U.S.

Being “fat but fit” is likely just a myth, a new study has found, stressing that these adults carry an increased risk of heart attack compared to those who are not overweight.

Some previous studies have indicated that some overweight people lack the adverse healthy effects associated with obesity. This subset of adults may have tested within the normal range of readings when it comes to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar — the biggest risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

But researchers now say that being overweight or obese increases an individual’s risk of heart disease by up to 28 percent – even if they are “metabolically” healthy – when compared to those with a healthy body weight.

The new study is considered the largest of its kind and was conducted by a group led by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge. Researchers examined data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). They reviewed the cases of more than half a million people from 10 European countries. After a follow-up period of more than 12 years, 7,637 people in the EPIC database experienced cardiovascular events, including death from heart attack.

Researchers used the common measurement of BMI “body mass index” to determine which adults were overweight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered “overweight.” A reading of 30 or above is categorized as “obese.”

The researchers said their findings highlight a gap that exists in both the United Kingdom and the United States, where overweight patients are not generally provided weight-loss advice if they don’t have traditional metabolic risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

“Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors,” said Camille Lassale, M.D., the lead author of the study said in a statement to the Imperial College London announcing the findings. “Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor.”

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Epilepsy on Rise in U.S. Adults, Children, CDC Says

More Americans are living with epilepsy, the chronic disorder characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At least 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the United States have the disorder, says the CDC.

In most cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown, but the condition can be trigered by a number of different conditions, including stroke, brain tumor, head injury, central nervous system infections, or genetic risks.

The CDC update found that the number of U.S. adults with active epilepsy jumped from 2.3 million in 2010 to 3 million in 2015. The number of children with epilepsy increased from 450,000 in 2007 to 470,000 in 2015. The CDC says the increases are likely the result of population growth and improved testing.

CDC researchers analyzed data at both the national and state levels. This is the first time epilepsy estimates have been available for every state.

“Millions of Americans are impacted by epilepsy, and unfortunately, this study shows cases are on the rise,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., said in a statement. “Proper diagnosis is key to finding an effective treatment – and at CDC we are committed to researching, testing, and sharing strategies that will improve the lives of people with epilepsy.”

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Cancer Patients May Face Higher, Short-Term Heart-Stroke Risks

A new study finds that patients who have been diagnosed with cancer carry higher risks of heart attack and stroke from blood clots, particularly in the first few months after diagnosis — compared with adults who don’t have cancer.

It has been previously established that cancer can increase the risk of blood clots. However, previous studies have focused on the risk of clots in the veins (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism) and not in the arteries — a condition that can result in heart attacks and strokes.

Six months after their cancer diagnosis, patients had a higher rate of heart attack or stroke (4.7 percent) due to blood clots than people without cancer (2.2 percent), according to the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The risk for heart attack and stroke was highest in patients with lung cancer (8.3 percent), and was generally higher in patients with the more advanced cancers. The time period after diagnosis is key, researchers found. After the first six months, the risks diminished. By one year after diagnosis, the risks were close to the same in cancer patients, compared to those without cancer.

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