Patients warned on bulging bellies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

Cardiac patients are being urged to develop the habit of regularly measuring their waistlines after a joint survey revealed that a majority of patients knew of the risk of their bulging stomachs, but did nothing about it.

The Chinese University and Care For Your Heart, a cardiac patients' mutual support association, interviewed 342 patients by telephone from July to October.

Among those interviewed, 80 per cent were aware their bulging waistlines could lead to coronary artery disease and diabetes. However, only half the interviewees had tried to trim their waistline in order to reduce the risk of disease.

Chair Sek-ying, associate professor of the Nethersole School of Nursing at Chinese University, said it was worrying that despite the medical information available to patients, they were not taking the right measures to manage their weight. The survey also showed 35 per cent of the interviewees believed they had big bellies, but only 16 per cent of those regularly measured their waistlines.

Cardiologist Clement Lee Pui-yin said people with large stomachs ran a high risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Dr Lee also noted that many people might not be aware of the real size of their waistlines because they mistakenly believed the waist size of their pants or skirts was their waist measurement. Waist measurements should be taken between the top of the hip bone and the bottom of the rib cage.

According to the International Diabetes Foundation, the standard average waistline recommended for local men in Hong Kong is 90cm, while for women it is 80cm.

He reminded cardiac patients not only to focus on controlling their blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol, but to measure their waistlines regularly and properly.

Meanwhile, a study released yesterday in the Hong Kong Medical Journal revealed that 86 per cent of 617 men who attended a clinic for urinary problems had hidden heart disease risk factors.

The report stated that as urinary symptoms was one of the common reasons that led men to seek medical attention, doctors should use those consultations to check for heart disease factors.

The study, conducted by Chinese University, involved male patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital's urology clinic and showed that 86 per cent had at least one risk factor of heart disease.

How to measure your waist

1 Loosen belt and take off shirt

2 Place measuring tape halfway between top of hip bone and bottom of rib cage

3 Take measurement while relaxing abdomen and breathing out