Repeated cycles of weight loss and gain may be linked to higher risk for stroke, myocardial infarction, and death in people with pre-existing coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study published online in the New England Journal of Medicine .
While previous studies have demonstrated that body-weight fluctuation is a risk factor for death and coronary events in patients without cardiovascular disease, this study is the first to measure the effect of “weight cycling” on health outcomes in people with pre-existing CAD.
The study examined data relating to 9,509 men and women with CAD who participated in the Treating to New Targets trial , which originally concluded in 2005. It found individuals with the greatest weight changes experienced 136 per cent more strokes, 117 per cent more heart attacks, and 124 per cent more deaths than those with the smallest shifts in weight.
“Our findings suggest that we need to be concerned about weight fluctuation in this group that is already at high risk due to coronary disease,” says lead study author Dr. Sripal Bangalore, director of the cardiovascular outcomes group in the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at New York University Langone.