Women may be able to protect themselves from heart diseases by maintaining a small waistline. This has been revealed by a research conducted by the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Women with waistlines of 35 inches or more are at greater risk of heart disease than thinner women, according to the study.
Of more than 6,000 women without known heart disease whose waistlines were measured on Women's Heart Day, February 18, 2005, the study found that 90% had at least one major risk factor for heart disease, and one-third had three or more. These risk factors included high cholesterol and high blood pressure, among others. Increased waist circumference was also correlated with a woman's 10-year chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease.
Several women who were screened were found to have major risk factors for heart disease they were unaware of. Nearly half of all women with elevated cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol ('good' cholesterol) did not report a history of being told they had abnormal cholesterol from a health-care provider.
Alarmingly, 43% of the women who participated in the screening had blood glucose above what is considered normal (< 100 mg/dL). And, 16% of the women with no documented history of hypertension had elevated blood pressure (> 140/90 mmHg) that should receive intervention based on national standards.
'We now know that these screenings provide an additional and unforeseen benefit. Not only have they allowed us to identify and educate women at risk, but they have provided a rich opportunity for research that will be useful in educating the millions of women who may not be able to attend the screenings in person but are at risk of heart disease,' said a researcher.