Tags: heart | health | waist | size | important | number

The Single Most Important Number You Need to Know for Heart Health

By    |   Monday, 15 December 2014 07:19 PM

The single most important number people need to know for heart health is not their blood pressure, their cholesterol levels or even their weight; it is their waist size. Although this may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that waist size is a reliable predictor of heart disease risk.

Obesity has long been considered a risk factor for heart disease and while this still applies, the relationship between height and waist size is a better prediction tool for heart health. According to WebMD, even more than weight or body mass index (BMI), the size of a person's waist predicts heart disease risk and other health issues. 'If your waist size is equal to or more than 35 inches in women and equal to or more than 40 inches in men, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol."

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Not only is waist circumference a critical measurement tool to predict heart health risk factors, it is related to overall morbidity rates. The Mayo Clinic reported, "The estimated decrease in life expectancy for highest vs. lowest waist circumference was approximately three years for men and approximately five years for women."

Harvard Health reported
on a study that examined the "obesity paradox." This is a phenomenon wherein "a few extra pounds as measured by BMI" might actually extend life expectancy for overweight people with coronary artery disease. Conversely, those in the normal weight range who have heart disease had a shorter life expectancy. "It's a paradox because people who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol … these factors are well known to increase the risk of coronary artery disease. So why would people with heart disease and normal weight have a worse prognosis than overweight and even obese people?" The answer appears to be that BMI is the wrong measurement tool to predict the risk of heart disease.

The more accurate tool to predict heart disease is waist size and the medical community is beginning to understand the critical importance of this number. According to ScienceDaily, the American College of Cardiology published a recent study on the location of body fat and heart disease, and concluded "People with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with similar body mass index but fat concentrations elsewhere on the body."

The number that is important to know for heart health is not the BMI measurement of fat, but the distribution of fat. Belly fat that increases waist size is called "visceral fat" and while it shows on the outside, more important is that inside the body it surrounds and can compromise vital organs.

MD Health confirms that unlike like subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin, "excess visceral fat has a much stronger correlation with adverse metabolic and cardiovascular disease outcomes." As a BMI calculation does not take into account the location of fat, that number is a less reliable predictor of heart disease risk than waist size.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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The single most important number people need to know for heart health is not their blood pressure, their cholesterol levels, or even their weight; it is their waist size.
heart, health, waist, size, important, number
Monday, 15 December 2014 07:19 PM
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