How to Avoid a Broken Heart

By Ayotunde Adeyeri,

It is important for people with weight challenges to be aware of the toll those extra pounds take on the heart muscle and how positively a stressed heart responds to significant weight loss. In overweight people, the heart has to work significantly harder to keep the body fully functional. As you can imagine, the heart starts to wear down after this prolonged overexertion.

The increased demand on the heart forces the heart muscle to increase in size to meet the needs of a larger body. But, unlike building larger muscle mass in other parts of the body, a bigger (enlarged) heart is not a healthier heart. A study by the Cleveland Clinic also found that when confronted with excess fat, the heart has to pump harder to move blood through the body, also causing the size of the heart to increase.

For many people, a diagnosed cardiac problem is the motivating factor in choosing a surgical weight loss solution. And, keep in mind, we are not talking about ‘older people.’ We have helped several patients in their 30’s and 40’s after they survived and recovered from obesity-related heart attacks. Having a bariatric surgical procedure done–and the significant weight loss that follows–can reduce the size of the heart to its natural shape and resume optimal function. In fact, recently one of my patients with about 150 pounds to lose told me that he could hear and feel his heart beating more easily after he had dropped the first 75 pounds.

When you partner this effort with an ongoing cardio fitness regime that strengthens the heart, you’re setting the stage for a long, heart-healthy life. When your heart is humming along, it also helps keep the rest of your organs in check as well. By losing weight and re-establishing normal heart size, you will enjoy enormously positive health benefits for the whole body. Moreover, the sooner your heart muscle can resume a normal size, all of the body’s organs will sustain less long-term damage.

Be kind to your heart—avoid overtaxing it with excess weight and keep it in shape by exercising regularly. It will thank you for many years to come.

Ayotunde Adeyeri, M.D., FASMBS, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge. The Institute is accredited by the MBSAQIP as a Comprehensive Bariatric Center and provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling.

For more information or to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar, call 855-TIME-4-ME.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center

For more than 100 years, Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Perth Amboy and Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge have provided a full continuum of health care services to residents of Central Jersey. Raritan Bay Medical Center is one of less than one percent of hospitals in the world to achieve Magnet Recognition, the “Gold Standard” for nursing practice, quality, and safety in patient care, four times. U.S. News & World Report, ranked Raritan Bay Medical Center as the #10 best hospital in New Jersey and #20 in the New York Metro area in 2018, and as a high performer in Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, and Heart Failure treatment.

The medical center is a New Jersey state designated Primary Stroke Center and recipient of the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association’s 2018 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, recognizing optimal treatment of stroke patients. Raritan Bay is also a recipient of the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the AHA’s Heart Check Mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers and the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award recognizing high-quality care of patients experiencing a severe heart attack.

The Joslin Diabetes Center, Affiliate at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge, provides the latest advances for treating diabetes and its complications as well as other metabolic and endocrine disorders. Among its flagship programs are the Human Motion Institute, a comprehensive orthopedic program, and Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge and Center for Bariatric Surgery at Raritan Bay-Perth Amboy, both specializing in weight loss surgery. As part of Hackensack Meridian Health, one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive health networks, patients have access to advanced specialized services with a seamless continuum of care, close to home.

For more information, visit To make an appointment for an outpatient test or treatment, call 732-324-5270. For a free physician referral, call 1-800-560-9990.

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