Your Shape Affects Your Heart
Are you an apple or a pear? (In most heart health studies these seem to be our only choices.)
Apple bodies tend to store fat around the waist. Fat concentrated lower down around the hips, thighs and buttocks indicate what is called the pear shape. Neither description is particularly flattering, but a new study finds that having an apple-shaped body may increase the risk for heart disease in people with diabetes.
Participants in the study who had a higher waist circumference were more likely to have problems with the left ventricle of their heart, compared with people with smaller waists.
The left ventricle is responsible for pumping blood out of the heart to the brain and the rest of the body. When it’s is not working properly, blood can back up into the lungs and lower extremities, leading to heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Researchers used echocardiograms to look at how well the left ventricle of the heart was functioning in 200 men and women who had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
They found that waist circumference appears to be a stronger predictor for left-ventricle dysfunction than total body weight or body mass index (BMI).
This was really no surprise -- a 2011 study of nearly 28,000 men and more than 41,000 women found that a higher waist circumference was significantly associated with heart-disease risk.