Are You an “Apple” or a “Pear” Shape? Your Waistline Really DOES Matter!

apple-body-typeThere have been countless research studies that try to predict a person’s likelihood of developing various diseases and/or medical conditions. In the past, researchers believed that a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was a true indicator of impending heart health risks. However, based on results of recent studies, it’s probable that the overall measurement of a person’s waist may have a more direct correlation to heart health – possibly even more so than the person’s BMI.

Is This Information about Waist Size Actually Helpful?
Even if you are considered a “normal” weight (e.g. not overweight or obese), your risk of developing heart disease is increased if your waist size is more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Typically, individuals whose bodies store fat in their mid-sections are referred to as apple- shaped, and those that store fat in their hips are pear- shaped. If you are apple- shaped, it is especially important that you pay attention to the risks – and even more so if you also have a high BMI, because the combination of a large waist size and a high BMI may put you at the highest possible risk.

What’s the Big Deal About Fat Around the Waist?
There are two types of fat. One type is called subcutaneous and the other is called visceral . Subcutaneous fat appears as dimples under the skin – which is commonly referred to as cellulite. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is a dangerous type of fat because it can surround your vital organs and render you more susceptible to heart disease and other life-threatening conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Visceral fat is what shows up around the abdominal area – and causes a person to be labeled as “apple shaped.”

How to Reduce Your Risk
If your body type can be described as an apple, there are many ways to reduce your heart disease risk factors – and the most obvious is weight loss. Even a small reduction in the size of your waistline will help. It’s important to remember that many people who are normally classified as thin can still have an apple -shaped body – – and this is not healthy.

What are the Best Ways to Reduce the Size of Your Waistline?
Many weight loss programs that have proven successful for countless individuals include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutrisystem. However, adhering to such programs is not the only way to lose weight and develop a healthier body. For example, limiting the amount of sugar (specifically high fructose) in your diet will result in a healthier body and possibly weight loss. In fact, restricting your diet to healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low fat choices, as well as severely limiting your intake of sugars, fats and carbohydrates will result in a healthier body. Additionally, exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and reduce the size of your waistline.

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Is Heart Disease Genetic?

Is heart disease hereditary?Many people mistakenly believe that if they do not have a family history of heart disease they are not at risk of experiencing cardiovascular health issues at any point in their lives. The truth is that heart disease can be caused by many different factors, and genetics is just one of them. Therefore, the answer to the question, “Is heart disease genetic?” is: “It can be.”

Possibly more important that a genetic disposition to heart disease is whether or not you consistently live a healthy lifestyle. In other words, it’s possible to have strong family history of heart disease, but you may be able to drastically reduce your propensity to develop cardiovascular problems by maintaining a low risk lifestyle and by keeping your body at a healthy weight, eating a balanced and healthy diet, refraining from smoking and significant alcohol consumption, and leading a relatively stress-free life.

A Healthy Lifestyle is the Most Important Factor
There is little doubt that heredity plays a role in the likelihood that you will develop the same type of heart disease as your mother, father or close relative(s) – if you live a similar lifestyle to that person/people. On the other hand, studies have shown that being proactive about living a healthy lifestyle has more impact on a person’s propensity to develop heart disease than genetic factors. All genetic risk factors for heart disease cannot be completely eliminated by leading a healthy lifestyle, but they can be drastically reduced.

Almost Everyone in My Family Has Suffered from a Heart Attack, a Stroke, or Another Type of Heart Disease
It’s incredibly important to be aware of your family’s health history and be educated on the most common ailments suffered by members of your family. But you should not use the information as a definitive precursor for your own future. If your family suffers from a high incidence of heart disease and stroke, that information can be used as a wake-up call that you must pay very close attention to your own lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise regimen. In other words, just because your mother, father, brother and sister suffer from heart disease does not mean you are destined to the same fate if you choose to do something about it.

Pay Attention to Your Health When You’re Young
The sooner you are aware of a genetic predisposition for heart disease, the earlier you can begin to take the necessary steps to ensure you will not follow the same path. A person is never too young to adopt a healthy lifestyle – which includes eating a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise, and not smoking. Additionally, regular cholesterol and blood pressure checks are advisable so that any indication of impending health issues can be detected early and potentially stopped or reversed before they become problematic.


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