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