Increased Waistline & Heart Disease: Is there a Link?

Increased Waistline & Heart Disease: Is There A Link?

Several studies have proved the link between heavy waistline or abdominal obesity and the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Let us understand if there is a link between increased waistline and heart disease.

It was approximately 60 years ago when a French physician, Sir Jean Vague, had stated that people having higher amount of fat around their belly were at a greater risks of heart disease as compared to ones that had slimmer waist. Subsequent studies later proved out the fact that abdominal obesity could greatly increase the risk and occurrence for chronic conditions like cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes, and even death if left uncontrolled

Coming to the context of heart health, new arguments have come up which reveal that an apple-shaped body that has higher weight around belly is at a greater risk of heart disease as compared to a pear-shaped figure, which is heavier around the hips. This fact strongly confirms the fact that your waistline has something to do with heart disease.

What Does Your Waistline Have To Do With Heart Disease?

What Does Your Waistline Have To Do With Heart Disease?

You might have heard a lot about maintaining healthy weight in order to reduce the risk of heart failure, but new studies add that you need to be also particular about abdominal fat in order to maintain your heart health. After all your waistline size has a lot to do with your heart health than just being a simple measurement.

Excess weight is a factor that welcomes various health problems. Right from heart disease, hypertension and high blood pressure to diabetes, it can increase the risks of possibly many conditions, but what does healthy weight actually mean? It is much more than being within the normal range of your vitals. Healthy weight and your risk of heart disease also covers how evenly the weight you carry is distributed around your body. When you wonder what your waistline has to do with heart disease, consider your weight and fat distribution in your body.

You can assess your health and risk of heart disease based on your body mass index. It is a parameter that assesses your health status based on your height and weight. Once you have your BMI, you can compare it with below.

  • If BMI falls below 18.5, it shows you are underweight
  • A BMI ranging between 18.5 and 24.9 is called normal weight.
  • BMI between 25 and 29.9 means you are overweight.
  • While people with BMI 30 and above are called “obese”.

Having a normal BMI is crucial, but at the same time having your weight being evenly distributed is also vital as fat distribution directly affects your health in many ways. Particularly, fat along your waist; as your waistline is related to increased risk of heart disease.

Heavy Waistline Can Increase the Risk of Heart Diseases?

When you consider waistline and the risk of heart diseases, heavy waistline is considered dangerous. Before we could break down exactly how a larger belly fat poses more risks for your heart, you need to understand the types of fat stored in human body.

Body fat is of two types known as visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.

While, subcutaneous fat resides just below the skin, visceral fat is skin deep and found around internal organs like heart and liver and around the belly and abdomen.

It is the visceral fat that mainly increases your waistline and has to do a lot with heart disease, particularly heart attack and type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat triggers release of certain hormones and proteins in the body, which results in inflammation thereby increasing pressure on the veins and arteries leading to severe health complications.

People who have a higher tendency to store visceral fat are also prone to problems like hypertension, high blood pressure, thickening of arteries walls, and high cholesterol levels.

Waist size or waistline is a strong factor that determines your risk of heart disease and diabetes, which is directly related to insulin sensitivity. Belly fat is generally associated with visceral fat, but you might be surprised that you could still have visceral fat even when you are thin or have a slender physique. A CNN based reporting on heart risks and symptoms stated that people with apple-shaped bodies and weights in the normal range were subjected to high risks of heart disease, thereby making it important for them to reduce abdominal fat. On the other hand people with pear-shaped body that is high in fat around thighs and hips are at a lower risk of heart-related infirmities. Nevertheless, it is true that your waistline has a lot to do with heart disease.

Waistline measurement is easy and you can do it on your own. For this, you will need a tape. Wrap it right from below your rib cage till your naval to determine your waist size. This will help you determining your waist circumference better.

  • If waist size exceeds 40 inches for men aged between 35 and 40, they are considered to be in the “obese” category.
  • If waist size exceeds 34.6 inches for women aged between 30 and 40, they are in the “obese” category.

Help Your Heart by Controlling your Waistline

Now that you know that your waistline has much to do with heart disease, you can take action to prevent it. Lifestyle changes and good dietary regime can not only help you in healthy weight management, but also aid in controlling your belly fat and trimming down your waistline. If you are heading up for the same tasks, following habits can help:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables on a routine basis. Incorporate whole wheat products, pulses and gluten-free meat in your diet.
  • Be wary of calorie intake and do read the nutritional intake chart in case of packaged and ready to eat food items.
  • Keep your serving size small. Avoid eating bigger portions and limit your snacking to avoid getting overboard with calories.
  • Moderate level of physical activity at least for 30 minutes a day is important to maintain body metabolism. This can range from jogging, brisk walking, stretching, swimming or any household based activity that can elevate your heartbeat and pulse rate.
  • Strength exercises can also help in controlling heart risks and therefore should be included in one’s exercise regime.

Getting medical advice before making any changes is important. Also consider your health and any medications you are taking, while planning your new healthy routine. You clearly know that your waistline has got to do with heart disease; so reducing your waistline is the key to preventing heart diseases. Summing it up, making healthy choices is a way of life that will not only promote good health but also increase your productivity while ensuring longevity and optimum wellbeing.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 21, 2017

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