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WEDNESDAY, April 5, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Yo-yo dieting — quickly losing weight only to promptly regain it — may raise the risk of heart problems, a new study suggests.

People who experience regular weight fluctuations of 8 to 10 pounds are much more likely to suffer from heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other heart-related maladies than people who only experienced shifts of 2 pounds or less, said lead researcher Dr. Sripal Bangalore. He is an interventional cardiologist with NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

In particular, yo-yo dieters had more than twice the risk of death, heart attack or stroke compared with people who maintained a relatively stable body weight, Bangalore said.

“For every 1.5- to 2-pound change in weight fluctuation, the risk of any coronary or cardiovascular event was increased by 4 percent, and the risk of death by 9 percent,” Bangalore said.

Patients with heart disease are encouraged to drop some pounds if they are overweight or obese, but it is very hard to maintain weight loss, Bangalore said. Weight gain frequently follows weight loss, falling into a rhythmic pattern doctors call “weight cycling.”

To see whether weight cycling had any effect on heart health, Bangalore and his colleagues analyzed medical data from 10,000 patients with hardening of the arteries in a clinical trial to test the effect of statin medications.

The patients were tracked over four years, with doctors regularly taking measure of their health and their body weight.

Researchers found that people whose weight cycled dramatically were more likely to experience heart disease, heart attack, cardiac arrest, blocked arteries, angina, stroke or heart failure.

Their risk of death was 124 percent higher, heart attack 117 percent higher, and stroke 136 percent higher, after accounting for other factors, the study said.

Bangalore thinks dramatic changes in weight likely place a lot of stress on the body, and also causes hormonal changes that…

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