Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Changes Seen in People Without Heart Disease, Research Shows

Nov. 1, 2004 - Being overweight or obese can hurt the heart, even in people who don't have heart disease.

New research from Australia spotlights obesity's independent effects on the hearts of healthy people who have excess weight.

The study was conducted by experts including Thomas Marwick, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, of Australia's University of Queensland. Their report appears in the Nov. 9 issue of the journal Circulation.

Marwick and colleagues focused on 142 healthy men and women who averaged 44 years old. None of the participants had heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or any known symptoms of heart failure.

Based on body mass index (BMI), an indirect measure of body fat, participants were divided into four groups: severely obese (BMI of more than 35), mildly obese (BMI of 30-34.9), overweight (BMI of 25-29.9), and normal (BMI less than 25).

Although the participants seemed healthy by ordinary screening measures, such as blood pressure reading, electrocardiogram, and ultrasound of the heart, the researchers detected subtle effects of excess weight on the hearts of overweight and obese participants.

Many problems of the heart were revealed by a new kind of ultrasound technology, which the researchers used to get an in-depth look at participants' heart muscle and function, as well as treadmill exercise tests and blood samples.

Ultrasound images showed that severely obese participants had significantly reduced pumping function in their hearts' lower chambers, compared with participants with normal BMI. In other words, the left chambers or ventricles in the hearts of severely obese participants had a harder time contracting (systolic function) and relaxing (diastolic function). Therefore people with excess weight had compromised their heart function, even though they were not known to have heart disease.

Mildly obese and overweight patients had the same problem to a lesser, but still significant, degree. The condition could be a warning sign of future heart failure, in which the heart can't pump out enough blood.

Treadmill tests showed that exercise capacity was reduced in participants who were overweight, mildly obese, or severely obese, with the most obese people having the least capacity for exercise.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...