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Your weight – a risk to your circulation

In the modern world, where many jobs involve sitting for long hours and we all have seemingly unlimited access to tasty treats, it’s hardly surprising that the majority of adults are carrying a few extra pounds.

Being overweight or obese can impact our health in many different ways. Carrying too much fat – particularly around your mid-section - can put a strain on your body and your heart, and make you more prone to conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But did you know being overweight can also affect your circulation?

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Scale of the problem

According to government data, 28% of adults in England are obese and 36% fall into the overweight category. This means a whopping 64% of the adult population in England are at an unhealthy weight. But how do you know if you’re overweight for your height?

To measure whether a person is obese, doctors often use BMI (Body Mass Index measurement) which involves multiplying a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. There are many online calculators that can help you work out your own BMI.

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Other measurements

BMI is a useful measure, but isn’t effective for all body types – for example, if you carry a lot of muscle. It also can’t tell us if we’re carrying too much fat around our abdomen, which can be dangerous to our health.

For this reason, it’s also worth measuring your waist to see whether you fall into healthy measurements. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute you are at risk for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes if your waist measures more than 88.9cm (35 inches) for a woman or 101.6cm (40 inches) for a man. For those of Asian descent, this number drops to 80cm (31.5 inches) for women and 90cm (35.5 inches) for men.

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How fat affects our health

If we eat more calories then we burn, our body stores them as fat for future use. This may have been a very useful part of survival for our ancestors who may have suffered periods of food scarcity. But in modern times where shortage of food isn’t usually a problem, this fat can build up, causing problems with our health.

Of course, some fat in our system is essential for normal bodily function. This type of fat is known as ‘essential fat.’ The type of fat we store under our skin – the fat that makes us look overweight – is known as ‘subcutaneous fat.’

There’s also another type known as ‘visceral fat.’ This is stored by the body around the organs, within the abdomen and is by far the most dangerous to our health. Having this type of fat can cause inflammation in the body, and is linked to serious diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

While a detailed scan is the only completely accurate way to find out your level of visceral fat, measuring your waist should give you a good idea of whether you’re carrying too much of the bad stuff.

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Revitive Medic Circulation Booster® actively improves circulation by stimulating the muscles in your legs and feet.

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How does being overweight affect your circulation?

If your body is larger, the heart has to work hard to pump blood to your extremities. This increase in heart effort can lead to high blood pressure.

Being obese may also cause ‘insulin resistance’ meaning the body is less adept in coping with sugars in the blood. This can cause diabetes which, in turn, can have a negative effect on your circulation.

If you are obese, you are more likely to suffer from high cholesterol. This fatty substance in the blood can cause veins and capillaries to thicken, making it harder for the blood to pass through.

Carrying too much visceral fat can cause inflammation, including in the venous system, making it harder for blood to flow freely through your veins.

Finally, the combination of high pressure, cholesterol and excess blood sugar and body fat all impacts the blood vessels. Vessels may narrow, making it harder for blood to pass through, and may also lose elasticity, becoming harder. This can lead to poor circulation medically diagnosed as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), and should be diagnosed by your GP.

Revitive is a registered medical device for people with Peripheral Arterial Disease affecting blood flow in the legs.

Symptoms of poor circulation

Poor circulation means that the blood is unable to deliver essential nutrients to the muscles and organs in your body, meaning they function less effectively. If you have poor circulation you may experience symptoms such as tingling sensations or loss of feeling in the limbs; or suffer from muscle cramps. These symptoms are most common in the legs and arms.

But it is also possible to have poor circulation without any noticeable symptoms initially.

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Losing fat

If you are carrying too much fat, particularly visceral fat, it’s important to take action in order to reduce your risk of disease and improve bodily functions such as your circulation. Reducing your calorie intake and exercising more often should help your body to start burning off its excess stores. Speak to your GP or a health professional for advice before starting a new diet or exercise programme.

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