What Is the Connection Between Belly Fat and Cardiovascular Diseases?

What Is the Connection Between Belly Fat and Cardiovascular Diseases?

In the modern-day life, the majority of the adult population is so caught up with work that they rarely find time for themselves. Neglecting weight management issues is common. In fact, a little bit of fat hanging around the belly and being a few pounds overweight is acceptable.

However, did you know that you ignoring your little belly may increase your risk of health conditions? Excess belly fat is linked to a number of health problems. The focus of recent studies is the connection between fat around the abdomen and heart-related conditions.

According to a European study, people with excess belly fat are more prone to developing heart complications. The study is a part of the European Society of Cardiology research program and goes by the name of EUROASPIRE V.

The study is actually a survey of prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The final conclusion was shown at the World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Read about it here. 

What Did the Study Show?

The survey reveals a number of things. The first was how nearly two-thirds of the people with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases have excess belly fat.

In addition, it also showed the effects of blood pressure controlling drugs. Only 47 percent of the people taking hypertension drugs were achieving their target.

In a similar way, only 43% of the people taking lipid-lowering medication to reduce LDL levels actually witnessed a change. For diabetes type 2 patients, only 65% were able to reach their blood sugar level goal.

What is the importance of these findings? Kornelia Kotseva, chair of the EUROASPIRE Steering Committee and a professor at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, says:

“The survey shows that large proportions of individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease have unhealthy lifestyle habits and uncontrolled blood pressure, lipids, and diabetes.”

How Was the Study Conducted?

The main focus of the study was on observing individuals at a higher risk of having cardiovascular conditions. 78 people from 16 countries were recruited and the research was held in the years 2017-18.

The participants of this study had no history of heart-related conditions and were all under the age of eighty.

It was observed that these participants were at a higher risk of developing heart diseases due to one of the following conditions:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Each one of the participant was questioned about lifestyle choices including smoking, BMI, diet, exercise and more. The common factor in all cases was central obesity. Central obesity is having a waist size over 88  cm for women and 102 cm for men.

What Is the Conclusion?

According to Prof. Kotseva, many individuals are not aware of being at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Most do not even know that they suffer from hypertension or have high cholesterol levels. Health practitioners and people themselves need to be more aware of all the risk factors. It is always mandatory to look for other conditions you might have. For example, if you have diabetes, there is a big chance you may even have blood pressure issues.

Many of the participants in the study were not aware of this. Prof. Kotseva says:

“In our study, many participants with high blood pressure and cholesterol were not being treated”

Conclusively, she said that there should be an increased focus on a policy of prevention as well as how all factors are linked with each other. For health practitioners, it is important to question the patient’s lifestyle and habits.



Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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