Does Your Waistline Affect Your Heart Health?

Doctor measuring man's waist

Doctor measuring man's waistA thicker waistline is more than an aesthetic issue; it also increases your risk for a heart attack. This is because stomach fat is associated with increased levels of (bad) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Carrying excess fat around your belly is more of a health risk than having extra fat in your hips or thighs.

Are You an Apple or a Pear?

The area where you have body fat is as important as the amount of weight you carry. A pear-shaped body (carrying weight around hips and thighs) doesn’t negatively affect your heart in the same way that having an apple-shaped body (carrying weight around the waistline) does. Cardiology centers in Castle Dale explain that you can still have a healthy BMI, but still be at risk if you have an expanding waistline.

Is Your Waistline a Risk?

Apart from being linked to some heart disease risk factors, the fat around your waist, also called visceral fat, is also closer to your internal organs and are related to hormones. Your waistline’s measurement often indicates the risks. If your waistline is greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, you are at high risk for heart disease.

How Can I Trim Down My Waistline?

There is no immediate solution to trimming down your waistline, but eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help. Both habits are beneficial in reaching or maintaining a healthy weight, as well as reducing your waist size.

Avoid quick fixes. Skip special diets and devices (like waist cinchers) that promise to reduce your belly fat. Instead, eat a healthy diet (Mediterranean-style) and engage in a regular physical activity, such as strength training.

Mind your serving sizes. There are cases where the problem may not be due to the food you eat but the amount you consume. Be aware of your portion sizes to avoid going overboard on sugar, fat, sodium, and calories. You can also benefit from reading and understanding food labels.

Learn good habits. It can be tempting to engage in strict diets and try weight-loss pills. The sad part is, they do not work in the long term. You have to learn good habits, which include eating healthy and exercising regularly for the long haul.

A doctor can help map out the best plan for your situation. Learn more about heart disease and talk to your physician to learn more about the risk.