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Waist Circumference Signals CV Risks


Excess body fat at the waist may be a sign of impending cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Italy recently reported that waist circumference was a better indicator of blood pressure than body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio. Thus the simplest measure may also be the most accurate in identifying people who may be developing components of the metabolic syndrome.

That condition, also called Syndrome X, is a cluster of medical abnormalities that is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics, lack of exercise and overeating. It is often found in people with diabetes, but it also affects those with high blood pressure who do not have diabetes. It is associated with severe cardiovascular problems.

Waist measures of 40" in men and 35" in women are considered signs of Syndrome X when two additional symptoms (high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, BP 135/80 or above or increased blood sugar) are present.

Findings such as these underscore the importance of weight loss and exercise to keep blood pressure down and to prevent the development of cardiovascular problems.

Source: American Society of Hypertension. Spare tire inflates cardiovascular risks in middle-aged men. Press release, Sept. 19, 2002.

(c) 2002 Sociedad Española de Medicina Antienvejecimiento y Longevidad

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