Measuring Tape Trumps BMI
BMI (body mass index) is a poor measure of heart risk, but measuring waist size is an accurate way to predict the risk of dying early from heart attack or other causes. Study findings were reported in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. According to CNN, the study reveals that measuring BMI, but not body shape, is a flawed method of predicting heart risk since it doesn't take into account fat distribution. Previous studies have shown that a large waist size (greater than 35 for women or 40 for men) increases death risk. The new study findings help reinforce the need for doctors to consider waist size, perhaps even telling normal weight patients to lose belly fat.
A First in Heart Studies
For the first time, a therapy for preventing heart disease has been proven more beneficial for women than men. Study findings, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, show that women received a significantly greater benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy with defibrillator (CRT-D). Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that women receiving CRT-D therapy to prevent heart failure progression had a reduction in heart failure of 70 percent, compared to only 35 percent in men. In females with only mild heart failure, CRT-D therapy helped prevent heart deterioration. "It's not that men did poorly in the trial, but rather, women had really fantastic results," notes cardiologist Arthur J. Moss, M.D.
Smaller Calf Muscles Blamed
Due to smaller calf muscles, women with peripheral artery disease (PAD) experience problems walking sooner than men with the disease, suggest researchers from Northwestern University. "After four years, women with PAD were more likely to become unable to walk for six minutes continuously and more likely to develop a mobility disability compared to men with the disease," says lead author Mary McDermott, M.D. Research findings, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reveal that men in the study had a greater loss of calf muscle each year than the women. Yet, the greater lower extremity muscle reserve in men may have protected them from the rapid functional decline experienced by women.
Strive for Less Than Two Hours
People who spend more than four hours entertaining themselves in front of the TV, computer screen, or with video games face double the risk of having a major cardiac event compared to people who spend less than two hours a day on screen-based entertainment, find UK researchers at University College London. Those who spend too much time on screen-based leisure activities are more at risk of cardiac events that will require hospitalization or result in death, and they're more likely to suffer premature death from any cause, finds the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Exercise may not mitigate the negative health impact of spending too much time in front of a screen, warn researchers.