The body mass index or BMI is a predictor of obesity which is a proven cause of heart disease. In recent times, studies have proven that waist size is linked with the incidence of heart disease.
CNN, the American network reported: “As in previous studies, a high BMI was associated with a lower risk of death. In a survey and analysis, heart patients with a high ratio of the waist-to-hip circumference or a large waist size — greater than 35 inches for women, or 40 inches for men — were 70 percent more likely to die during the study period than those with smaller waists. The combination of a large waist and a high BMI upped the risk of death even more.”
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Doctors explained that a person with a high BMI and larger than average waist size is at a higher risk of suffering from coronary disease. The waist size is measured by using tape at the point between the ribcage and over the belly button. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology found in a study that waist size predicts far more accurately a heart patient’s chances of dying at an early age from a heart attack.
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How abdominal fat leads to heart disease:
Visceral or belly fat, is the fat deposited in the abdomen and surrounds the vital organs like heart and liver. High visceral fat in a body is linked with a higher incidence of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. It is thought that visceral fat prompts the body to release certain hormones which prevent the body from breaking down fat and sugar, leading to obesity and coronary disease.
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Ways to prevent abdominal fat:
1. Moderate to heavy exercise concentrating on the abdominals breaks down fat cells and limits their growth. With exercise blood, circulation and respiration improves, thereby significantly lowering the coronary risk
2. Limiting intake of fructose: Fructose is found in bottled soft drinks and in most processed foods. High fructose levels in the body harm the body in two ways:
a. It limits the breakdown of fat cells
b. Promotes overeating by limiting the production of the hunger suppressant hormone, ghrelin.
3. Increasing Vitamin D intake: Vitamin D helps the heart muscle grow strong and prevents fat deposition along artery walls.
4. Reduce stress levels: Stress is a very potent killer. It elevates blood pressure, limits fat breakdown, and causes irregular pumping action- all leading to stress on the heart muscle and increased risk of a coronary. The trick then is to control stress levels by eating right, sleeping well, and calming the mind with exercise.
So treat it as a warning signal if your waist size is in check:
Men – Must be less than 102 cm.
Women – Must be less than 88 cm.