weight loss

3 minute read

The link between weight loss medication and better heart health: what you need to know

By Joe Young | Medically reviewed by Dr Nimlan Shanmugathas

We know that semaglutide, the active ingredient in the weight loss medication Wegovy, drives an average of 15% weight reduction. However, recent research has highlighted another exciting development: cutting the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Let's take a closer look at the findings. 

New data

Recent results presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) revealed that semaglutide's benefits extend beyond weight loss.

The research led by Professor John Deanfield of University College London, is based on the SELECT trial that involved 17,604 adults aged 45 and over, all with a history of cardiovascular disease and a BMI greater than 27, but without diabetes.

Semaglutide was shown to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events (like heart attacks and strokes) by 20%. This study is the largest and longest of its kind, examining the effects of semaglutide over an average follow-up period of 40 months.

Beyond weight loss

John Deanfield indicated that the cardiovascular benefits of semaglutide are not solely dependent on weight loss.

It may reduce risk through positive effects on blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and inflammation, as well as direct benefits to the heart muscle and blood vessels, or a combination of these factors.

This suggests that the effects of semaglutide on lowering cardiovascular risk are independent of weight loss and not just due to reducing unhealthy body fat.

The real-life implications

Approximately 7.6 million people in the UK suffer from heart and circulatory diseases, which can be fatal.

The findings of the SELECT trial suggest that semaglutide could be a game-changer when it comes to heart health. Professor Deanfield emphasised that about half of the patients in his cardiovascular practice have weight levels similar to those in the trial. 

These patients could greatly benefit from incorporating semaglutide into their treatment plan, ​​potentially improving their cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of major heart events.

What do our experts say?

Dr Luke Pratsides, Numan’s Head of Medical, offers his perspective on the new findings about semaglutide’s impact on cardiovascular health:

The recent findings on semaglutide are very promising. The SELECT trial demonstrates that semaglutide not only aids in weight loss but also significantly reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. This is a crucial development, particularly for patients with cardiovascular disease and obesity.

However, while semaglutide offers substantial benefits, medical supervision is essential. It’s not just about taking medication - it's about integrating it into a broader health strategy that includes a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Semaglutide is a valuable tool but not a standalone solution.

The numan take

Semaglutide is backed by solid research and has shown substantial benefits. These exciting findings underscore its potential not just for weight loss but also for significantly reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.