Is abdominal fat directly linked to heart attacks?

Updated on February 4, 2020

According to scientific research, fat that is stored in the stomach, has a direct link to heart attack. The stomach fat deposition is also called abdominal obesity and is an accelerator to the first heart attack. That being said, it has also been noticed through scientific research that abdominal fat also leads to a series of heart attacks. Also known as beer belly, spare tyre, muffin top, etc., the layer of excess fat around the belly poses a huge overall health risk. The reason behind excess layer of fat in the abdominal area is linked to subsequent heart attacks are the clogged arteries. Click here if you want to know more.

Atherosclerosis or clogging of arteries happens when there is fat, cholesterol and other substances build-up in and around the walls of the artery. This further causes obstruction of the blood flow which leads to rupture of the plaque layer and severe clotting. In addition to this, other ailments include high levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels. Not only these, there are other factors too that are responsible for risk of heart attacks associated with abdominal obesity. These factors are the ones that remain unnoticed because of several reasons. 

The distinct association between abdominal fat deposition and subsequent heart attacks have been found out from practical research. The healthcare experts use the circumference of the waist to identify people who have potential health issues. After the first heart attack, it is important for professional health practitioners to look out for any coronary heart problems as well as isochemic strokes and frequently occurring heart attacks. A study was conducted and published by the EJPC, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. This research was carried out on approximately 23,000 people who were aged from 35 to 77. 

This was the largest research completed, till date and almost 17,000 participants were male. As a part of the research, each of the participants was regularly checked for 4 years after the first heart attack. The team of researchers used these details for all upcoming checkups that were yet to be conducted. As per the study and it’s routine, the first schedule of follow-up was conducted between the first 4th to 10th week after the first heart attack. The second follow up took place between the 12th to 14th months after the attack. 

It was found out during these check-up visits that a standardized process needed to be followed for all to identify the risk factors of cardiovascular health. Following this, the professional healthcare experts measured each and every participant’s height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and lipid levels, electrocardiogram rhythm, also known as ECG report. Additionally, the waist circumference was also noted as this was the area of focus for the study. The stomach measurement was taken from the area between the iliac crest and the last rib. The iliac crest is the most important and prominent part of the pelvis of human body. 

Many studies have reported that abdominal fat deposition leads to both non fatal as well as fatal cardiovascular attacks. These attacks also include strokes which increase with the bad habits of smoking, etc. This happens because of the constant rise in blood pressure levels which is created by an unhealthy lifestyle followed by bad habits. Furthermore, as per research, general obesity is less harmful than abdominal fat which is a catalyst for recurrent cardiovascular attacks. 

According to reports, men who have waist circumference that is more than 94 cm and females who have waistline more than 80 cm are obese. This obesity can also be abdominal obesity which is harmful for cardiovascular health. It has been noticed that almost 90% of females and 78% of males have a risk of being obese. Many new preventive measures have come up to combat this problem, however doctors also give a secondary prevention treatment to people who have had their first attack. 

Secondary prevention treatments are nothing but healthcare practices wherein the risk factors that lead to heart attacks are reduced. The blood pressure, lipids and sugar levels are thoroughly examined and a proper check is kept to keep the levels normal and constant. In addition to this, it has been seen in examinations that patients who had abdominal obesity, in spite of getting treatments, did have a risk of heart attacks. This was because of the high levels of blood pressure, lipids and sugar of the body and the medicines taken to keep them low. 

Irrespective of the gender, a widening waistline brings in a lot of underlying risks for overall health. Here it is not important to know whether men or women are more at risk, what is the concern is to know of ways to fight it out. So, if you think that your waistline has been growing and needs to be checked now, start taking action right away. 

How to lower the waist circumference and lower health risks –

  • Exercise and physical activity

Importance of exercise or physical activity cannot be simply ignored when it comes to well-being of the health. Regular exercise or physical activities of any form keeps the body moving and helps in burning of fat. This leads to lower body weight and lesser to almost zero fat deposition on the stomach.

  • Keep a check on your body weight

Keeping a constant check on the body weight is another method to keep the abdominal fat deposition at bay. Body weight gain for some people is very easy and losing the weight is tough. It is pivotal to lead an active lifestyle irrespective of one’s schedule. Nothing can be more important than his or her health as an active lifestyle makes the day better. Due to many hormonal changes and growing age, losing weight becomes a little difficult. Hence it should be tried from an early age to keep body weight in check. 

  • Healthy food and balanced diet

Now that exercise has been included in the schedule, it is time to include some healthy food like vegetables and fruits in the diet. The body needs a balanced diet to keep the body weight in check.

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