The obesity paradox: overweight people are better at coping with hypertension and strokes

Scientists have discovered a strange paradox of obesity

The scientists are trying to solve the amazing paradox of obesity. The mystery is based on the general picture of the health of overweight and thin patients. And it lies in the fact that overweight people tend to be more at risk of health problems. It is in obese people that diabetes, hypertension, strokes and diseases of the cardiovascular system are more often diagnosed than in slim people.

But at the same time, overweight people cope with these conditions much better than thin people. Georgia Medical College is investigating this unexplained fact. Professor Gurmukh Singh noted that he and his colleagues decided to rely on laboratory research to uncover that unexplained phenomenon. Indeed, they managed to find significantly different indicators.


It turned out that in patients with uncomplicated obesity, the level of triglycerides, fats or lipids in the blood was constantly higher, which indicates the risk of heart disease. But when they find themselves in the intensive care unit, such patients cope with their condition much better than those who are not overweight.

The doctors compared the results of an overall complex metabolic profile, such as total cholesterol, blood glucose and red blood cells, in 522 adult patients who were of completely different weights from overweight to normal. The premise was that obese people were known to have a deviant attitude than their slimmer peers and would require intensive care interventions.

In addition, even outwardly at moments of seizures, overweight people looked much worse than slender people. However, the test results did not fit the theory and effectively rule out that explanation for the obesity paradox. Singh says there may be an unconscious bias that can cause obese people to be admitted to intensive care before those who are not overweight.


And another theory, more understandable, is based on the fact that overweight people have a dense store of fat, which allows them to survive not only critical situations, but also critical illnesses.

Thin patients, not having such a reserve of dense fat, after recovery do not seem slim, but exhausted, because much more energy is spent on the body's struggle for life, which is not so much in their body.

Reference: “Obesity Paradox: Laboratory Findings in Uncomplicated Obesity. Is Bias a Plausible Explanation?” by Okechukwu V Nwogbo, Asad Ullah and Gurmukh Singh, 24 November 2020, The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine. DOI: 10.1093/jalm/jfaa049