Know if you are at Risk for Heart Disease

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2008

Want to know whether you're at risk for heart disease? Pull out a tape measure. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that body mass index (BMI) alone may not be reliably linked to cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers say the best indicator for health and heart disease risk is the waist to hip ratio, which means if you're a apple shaped person and tend to carry weight around the middle you may need to cut back inches, even if your BMI is in the healthy range.

The study used records from the Dallas Heart Study - an ongoing project that evaluates factors and risks related to heart disease for an urban population whose median age is 45. The researchers focused on a group of over 2,500 people who had been scanned for signs of plaque in their arteries and in their aorta (the artery near the heart).

These participants were scanned with electron-beam computed tomography to detect calcium deposits that can cause hardening of the arteries which can eventually lead to heart attack. The researchers found that the group with the largest waist to hip ratio were nearly twice as likely to have calcium deposits than others with small waist to hip ratios.

Only those with the highest BMI were found to have a strong connection for calcium deposit prevalence. The difference for those with the lowest BMI scores and those with midrange scores were found to be much less. The researchers used the findings to state that BMI does not identify patients who have fat deposits around the waist. These patients appeared to have related risks for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol levels.


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