Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part three – Using a tape measure to assess your risk for sudden cardiac death
Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.
Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.
In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.
Using a tape measure to assess your risk for sudden cardiac death
A person with excess belly fat, as determined by the waist to hip ratio formula has a 40% greater risk of dying due to a sudden heart problem. A sudden death means dying within an hour of the onset of symptoms.
In a presentation to the Heart Rhythm Society, 301 cases of sudden cardiac death within 15,156 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study who were between the ages of 45 and 64 died over 12.6 years. At the beginning of the twelve-year period each individual was tested using the three common measures of obesity, which are Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference and waist to hip ratios.
Originally, all three measures were linked with a higher risk of suffering a sudden cardiac event. After making adjustments for other conditions also linked with obesity such as high blood pressure and diabetes it was found that the waist to hip ratio was a “significant predictor of risk.” Those in the top 1/5 of the ratio had waist to hip measures of 0.97 or higher for women and 1.01 or higher for men, indicating a waist roughly as big as the hips.”
Those in “the lowest 1/5 had ratios of less than 0.82 for women in less than 0.92 for men.”
The danger of too much belly fat, according to the researchers, is due to the “effects of inflammation, which in turn can lead to fibrosis in the heart muscle.” Additionally too much belly fat puts unneeded pressure on the kidneys which by the very nature of their makeup is one of our body’s fragile organs.
The take-home message here is to calculate your waist to hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Healthy numbers are:
- “Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 0.8 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.
- Men with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 1.0 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution. “ (1)
If it is too high then do something to alter it by changing your diet and getting more exercise.
(1) The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)).