Heart and circulatory diseases rank among the leading causes of death in the UK, accounting for roughly a quarter of all fatalities. Several factors can elevate one's risk for these conditions, such as high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. While there are clear signs of heart issues, like chest pains, some individuals might not exhibit any symptoms, heightening the likelihood of a severe medical emergency.
However, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggests a straightforward test you can perform at home to gauge your risk of heart disease. Measuring your waist circumference serves as a reliable health indicator, the charity states. They explain that being overweight or obese amplifies your risk of heart and circulatory diseases. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a method to determine if you're overweight or obese.
But BMI isn't the sole metric for heart disease risk, according to BHF. They note that excessive weight around the midsection increases the risk of heart and circulatory diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Generally, additional weight in the abdominal area indicates an abundance of visceral fat. This fat, stored around internal organs like the liver and pancreas, produces toxins that disrupt normal bodily functions.
To measure your waist, use a tape measure and follow these guidelines: Locate the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips. Wrap a tape measure around your midsection, halfway between these points. Ensure it's snug but not pinching your skin. Exhale naturally and record your measurement. Double-check by measuring again for accuracy.
Common symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. If you experience these symptoms and are concerned about your heart or weight, it's advisable to consult with your doctor.