Keep a Check on the Waistline and Save Your Heart- Dr Abhishek Singh
Abnormal accumulation of fat around waist can become the cause of a cardiac disease, and obesity is a global problem and affects people in every age group. It causes problem in movement, performing day to day chores, is the biggest threat to the heart. Researchers found that women with wider waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, or waist-to-height ratio were 10 to 20 per centmore prone to heart attack than those who were just heavier by body mass index (BMI). There are two types of fat – subcutaneous fat, the fat we feel just under the skin,and the unhealthy intra-abdominal fat,also known as visceral fat. An expanding waistline generally indicates excess visceral fat, stored around several key internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Visceral fat poses higher risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases. People with a normal weight but a fat belly have more chance of heart problems than people without a fat belly, even if they are obese according to BMI.
Risks in India
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) data shows, the number of overweight or obese women rose from 27 per cent in last decade to 35 per cent while the number of overweight or obese men rose from 17 per cent in last decade to 27 per cent in Delhi. However, heart diseases are rapidly making inroads to the rural India. A study titled Million Death Study set up by the Registrar General of India (RGI) states cardiovascular mortality is the reason for more than a quarter of all deathsin India causing more than 2.1 million deaths in 2015 at all ages. Those approaching their 50s or less are more at risk than others as the study traces 68.4 per cent coronary heart disease deaths in the age group of 30 to 69 years. In rural women and men, coronary heart disease deaths rose by 56 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.
Use a simple measure of waist-to-hip ratio, a good indicator of visceral fat, to know how fat or fit you are. Divide the circumference of your waist by that of your hip. A number greater than 1 is considered harmful for men while any number greater than 0.85 is considered excessive for women. Often, weight and BMI remain in the normal range despite an accumulation of visceral fat. However, you should see a doctor if your waist circumference is higher than normal (35 inches in women and 40 inches in men) and believe you lead a stressed or sedentary lifestyle.In most of the cases, an unregulated and sedentary lifestyle, improper food habit with dependence on junk food, and poor physical movement are responsible for obesity.
Getting to safety on time
Reducing the percentage of visceral fat is important as it ensures optimal hormone functioning and prevents the development of associated health complications.
Visceral fat can be effectively reduced through regular endurance exercises such as running, biking, rowing and swimming, all of which elevate your heart rate. If you are squeezed for time, fit it in where you can —a half-an-hour walk outside your office at noon or before you drive home for the day is better than trying to drag your tired self to the park or gym at night.
Obese people at risk of heart disease should focus on limiting weight gain over all. Women tend to put on weight more than men as they get older and enter menopause. This occurs for hormonal changes, a decline in muscle mass (since fat burns less calories than muscle), and lifestyle changes, among other reasons.
If you are already using tobacco, quit immediately.Passive Smoking is also one of the reasons that may induce a heart disease in an otherwise healthy person or prompt a quitter to start smoking again. If you find yourself in a smoking zone, get out immediately. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and start cutting down the intake of salt, sugar and saturated fats.Besides, Develop a sleep routine to get 6 to 8 hours’sleep every night.