Cardiovascular Diseases - Ten Questions and Answers

1. Which factors play a role in the development of cardiovascular diseases?

Risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases include smoking, lipid metabolism disorders, hypertension, physical inactivity, diabetes, overweight and obesity. As people in the Western world grow fatter, overweight and obesity become more and more important in terms of cardiovascular risk. But it depends mainly on where the fat sits.

In overweight and obesity, for example, a powerful abdominal girth (one speaks of abdominal obesity) allows clear conclusions to be drawn on the fact that there is greater fat deposits on the internal organs. This so-called increased internal abdominal fat is particularly dangerous and has, in addition to the clearly visible signs of increased waist circumference, long-term elevated blood lipids and blood sugar levels and high blood pressure - the so-called 4 B - result.

2. Why is the abdominal girth particularly important in cardiovascular diseases?

An increased waist means excessive stomach fat. But the increased waist is only a first indicator, because the stomach rarely comes alone! The inner abdominal fat is subject to different metabolic laws than the fat on the buttocks, hips and thighs. It produces substances that lead to increased disorders of lipid metabolism, blood sugar and blood pressure. Therefore, excessive levels of belly fat increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

3. How can you measure inner abdominal fat?

Only with very elaborate and expensive methods, for example, by a computer tomography, you can accurately determine internal abdominal fat. Therefore, the most important information has an equally simple and beneficial measure - the measurement of the abdominal girth. While standing and wearing a bare torso, place a measuring tape in the middle between the lower costal arch and the upper edge of the pelvis, guide it in a straight line around the abdomen and read the circumference of the abdomen in a slightly exhaled state.

4. From which belly circumference does it become dangerous?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined a benchmark: From 88 cm abdominal circumference in women and 102 cm in men is directly related to metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis is promoted - and thus increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The German Obesity Society recommends measuring the abdominal girth regularly even from a body mass index (BMI) over 25. Prevention is gaining importance here, because the sooner measures are taken, obesity and the consequences are prevented, the better.

5. What role do altered blood lipids play in terms of health?

The inner abdominal fat produces large amounts of free fatty acids, which disturb the entire fat metabolism: on the one hand the HDL cholesterol level ("good" cholesterol) decreases, on the other hand LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides can rise above the norm values, Too much LDL cholesterol can settle in the vessels, HDL cholesterol in turn transports the cholesterol from the vessels. If too much LDL cholesterol is not balanced by more HDL cholesterol, atherosclerosis can occur.

Triglycerides are harmful in high concentrations because, like LDL cholesterol, they promote the development of atherosclerosis. If the ratio of LDL and HDL cholesterol is not correct and the triglyceride levels are too high, the risk of heart attack and stroke increases.

blood fatGuidelines for increased risk
HDL cholesterolWomen below 50 mg / dl, men below 40 mg / dl
triglyceridefrom 150 mg / dl
LDL cholesterolfrom 150 mg / dl
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