Waist circumference… How can I measure my risk?
We need to measure our waist size by placing the measuring tape at navel level. Perimeter shouldn’t exceed 102 centimeters (40.16 inches) in men and 88 centimeters (34.56 inches) in women. These are the recommended measures, until scientific societies develop a final consensus that indicate proper measures based on sex, age, height and ethnicity.
However, based on the latter and given that in people with Diabetes these risk factors increase considerably, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) took the first step in 2005. Concerned with the fact that 80% of people with Diabetes die from cardiovascular diseases, doctors established considerably more stringent measures, especially for Caucasians, where they set 94cm for men and 80cm for women.
If one has a thick waist, they need to ask their doctor to check their blood triglyceride level. If both are high, there is an 80% chance that the person has “metabolic syndrome”.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which several health problems converge, such as Excess weight, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, High triglycerides and Insulin Resistance, which accentuate cardiovascular problems.
Fortunately, all of these problems related to excess weight and a waist circumference above normal, can be prevented if we take timely necessary measures, so we can enjoy a healthy, productive and happy life.
Waist Circumference… The key is prevention
The IDEA study demonstrated the importance of maintaining a waist circumference perimeter within a normal range, i.e., of no more than 102 centimeters (40.16 inches) in men and 88 centimeters (34.56 inches) in women. It also demonstrated that doctors, besides from checking Body Mass Index (BMI) should also measure waist circumference perimeter and cholesterol and triglyceride levels, to determine if the excess fat that exists in the organism is subcutaneous or visceral, to them determine their patient’s degree of cardiovascular risk.
This study also found that Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference were higher in people who live in urban areas than those who live in rural areas, and in women aged 45 to 60, waist increased with menopause. Female hormones or estrogen are a cardiovascular protector, which is why the rate of cardiovascular problems in women is much lower than in men until they reach menopause, which is when their incidence of such problems begins to increase. Due to this, several doctors currently prescribe estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women.
If we want to maintain an ideal weight and check that our waistlines remain within normal parameters, we’ll be taking the first and most important step to prevent or reduce our risk of cardiovascular problems. Reducing the high incidence of excess weight, Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular problems is in our hands, and these are currently affecting the entire world population.
In people with or without Diabetes, healthy eating and a regular exercise program are the main tools to help reduce and maintain a healthy body weight and reduce their waist circumference size. This will also help them prevent and control other problems related with excess weight and obesity, such as Type 2 diabetes, Hypertension, Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels, which, if controlled properly, will allow you to enjoy a better quality of life.