Your waist will tell your heart healthiness

Emobileclinic Researchers’ corner

Emobileclinic Reporter: Femi Fayomi 

A new Study finds that when it comes to heart health, a pear-shaped body, which is heavy in the hips, may be better than an apple-shaped body, which carries more weight around the belly and ‘apple-shaped’ diabetes patients had higher odds for cardiac decline than other body shapes.

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According to Dr. Brent Muhlestein, the study author and co-director of research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, abdominal obesity is known to be more linked to coronary atherosclerosis [plaque buildup in the arteries] than other forms of obesity.

A study of diabetes patients found that increasing waist size appears to be a stronger predictor for serious heart disease than body weight or body mass index (BMI, the weight-to-height ratio).
For this investigation, scientists measured waist circumference, total body weight and BMI in 200 men and women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can raise heart risks, but patients did not start the study with any symptoms of heart disease. The researchers evaluated the heart function of study participants by using echocardiography — a type of ultrasound. They noted that left ventricular function got progressively worse as waist sizes got bigger, with heart decline eventually leveling off at 45 inches of waistline.
The researchers found that left ventricle heart function got worse with progressive waist circumference. The left ventricle is the heart’s primary pumping chamber, and abnormal ventricular function is a common cause of heart disease, including congestive heart failure, the relation between left ventricle function and waist circumference remained highly significant, even after adjusting body weight.

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According to Dr. Sarah Samaan, a cardiologist and physician partner at the Heart Hospital at Baylor in Plano, Texas, these results support previous research indicating that fat in the abdominal area is much more risky than fat elsewhere in the body as abdominal fat produces a wide range of inflammatory substances, and is more highly correlated with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes than other types of fat.
The study authors noted that the link between waist circumference and reduced heart function was independent of total body weight and BMI. When compared to men, women in the study in general had better heart function at each increasing level of abdominal obesity. In general, abdominal obesity had a greater adverse effect on men than women thus women are advised to maintain a waist size of about 34 inches or less, while men should try to keep their waist circumference at 40 inches or less.

Exercise and diet remain the mainstays of treatment for all obese persons, including those with an apple shape. While crunches may strengthen the abs, they won’t necessarily burn abdominal fat;aerobic exercise is the best type of exercise to burn belly fat. Also, smokers tend to hold more belly fat, even if their total body weight is normal, so quitting smoking may help.

SOURCES: J. Brent Muhlestein, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Utah, and co-director, research, Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, Salt Lake City; Etal abstract presented on April 2, 2016, American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, Chicago

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