The belly fat and repeat heart attack connection medicine can’t save you from

In the months and years after you have a heart attack, there’s a worry that’s always lurking in your mind…

Will I have another one?

This isn’t an unreasonable thing to be concerned about. About 20 percent of people who have a heart attack have a second one within five years.

But as you probably already know, worrying won’t prevent another heart attack. Taking action will.

Quitting smoking. Lowering cholesterol. Managing stress. There are lots of ways to significantly reduce your risk of having another heart attack. But according to new research, one stands out above the rest…

Tackling that belly bulge.

Medicine can’t override belly fat at preventing repeat heart attacks

A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that belly fat increases the risk of having repeat heart attacks — even when you’re taking medicine to prevent that very thing from happening.

The study included 22,000 people who already had one heart attack. The majority of them were carrying extra weight on their midsection — 78 percent of men and 90 percent of women.

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Researchers followed these people for close to four years. And the people with excess belly fat were more likely to have a second heart attack… even though they were receiving treatments that were supposed to reduce their risk of another heart incident, like blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, and cholesterol drugs.

Researchers also found that belly fat was a far bigger factor in repeat heart attacks than obesity in general. More proof that fat in your middle is the most dangerous.

Time to target belly fat

Is it possible to only target fat on your belly?

The truth is, it’s hard to target one area of your body specifically. If you take measures to lose weight in general, the fat on your belly should gradually come off. But if you’re looking for a few tricks to help it come off faster, here are my suggestions:

  • Do strength and resistance training. Building muscle strength causes your body to release fat-burning hormones that reduce belly fat. Also, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day. So, building muscle helps you lose weight quicker.
  • Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Research shows that high-intensity interval training triggers the “afterburn effect,” which means your body continues to burn calories long after you’re finished exercising. That makes it great for weight loss in your belly…and everywhere else.
  • Keep track of your carb and sugar intake. Studies show that even a minor reduction in carb intake can lead to less belly fat. Even if you don’t want to cut carbs to the extreme, at least cut back on refined carbs and sugar. Refined carbs and sugar cause your blood sugar to spike, which triggers hormonal changes that tell your body to store belly fat. Instead, choose foods filled with protein and fiber, which keep your blood sugar stable and your belly trim.
  • Replace meat with mushrooms. This tip’s a little out there, but hear me out. One study found that trading meat for mushroom for three meals per week led to weight loss and knocked inches off the waistline. If you enjoy a serving of ‘shrooms from time to time, give this idea a shot.

Editor’s Note: Recently, the strongest evidence yet that tens of thousands of costly stent procedures and bypass operations each year are unnecessary for people with stable heart disease was presented to the American Heart Association. In fact, study participants who had a procedure were more likely to suffer a heart problem or die over the next year than those treated with medicines alone. Before you submit to any heart treatment, read this FREE report…


  1. Belly fat linked with repeat heart attacks — MedicalXpress
  2. Abdominal obesity and the risk of recurrent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease after myocardial infarctionEuropean Journal of Preventative Cardiology
  3. The link between abdominal fat and repeat heart attacks — Medical News Today
  4. Proactive steps can reduce chances of second heart attack — American Heart Association
  5. The Workout That Can Help You Lose 2 Inches Of Belly Fat — Men’s Health
  6. Refined Carbs and Sugar: The Diet Saboteurs —
  7. Belly fat is worse than bacon — here’s ‘Harvard’ solution — Easy Health Options
  8. A Modest Decrease In Carb Consumption Shown To Slim Down Waistlines — Easy Health Options
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and