The Thigh and The Heart…Where’s The Connection?

September 21, 2009

Check your thighs… are they thin or thick?  big or small?

Now get a tape measure and read on…..

An intriguing study published in the British Medical Journal made me think….

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Objective To examine associations between thigh circumference and incident cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease and total mortality.

Design Prospective observational cohort study with Cox proportional hazards model and restricted cubic splines.

Setting Random subset of adults in Denmark.

Participants 1436 men and 1380 women participating in the Danish MONICA project, examined in 1987-8 for height, weight, and thigh, hip, and waist circumference, and body composition by impedance.

Main outcome measures 10 year incidence of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease and 12.5 years of follow-up for total death.

Results:

  •  A small thigh circumference was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases and total mortality in both men and women.
  •  A threshold effect for thigh circumference was evident, with greatly increased risk of premature death below around 60 cm.
  • Above the threshold there seemed to be no additional benefit of having larger thighs in either sex.
  • These findings were independent of abdominal and general obesity, lifestyle, and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid concentration.

Conclusions:

  • A low thigh circumference seems to be associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease or premature death.
  • The adverse effects of small thighs might be related to too little muscle mass in the region.
  • The measure of thigh circumference might be a relevant anthropometric measure to help general practitioners in early identification of individuals at an increased risk of premature morbidity and mortality.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

What is interesting of this study is the finding that the risk to cardiovascular disease was in fact  more highly related to thigh circumference than to waist circumference. 

Now therefore…we have a very simple way of determining based on a method we can easily do anywhere pt measure and assess ones risk! 

The CUT OFF size is 60 cm…that’s the magic number …anything smaller is harmful so the study says….

Will the risk reverse once we increase the circumference of the thighs? Again …the whole picture of a healthy lifestyle still is the best way to combat chronic diseases and heart disease. 

But for now, thinner thighs mean lesser muscle mass which may mean insulin may not work properly and therefore can predispose this individual to diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.   In this study, the people with a thigh measurement of less than 46.5 centimetres (18 inches)had roughly double the chances of getting heart and circulation problems or dying during the study.  

So what needs to be done? If you have a small thighs you can do something about it!!!!

Exercise!!!

Another reason for us to move and work out!

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7 Responses to “The Thigh and The Heart…Where’s The Connection?”

  1. mayette balangue Says:

    does 6ocm cut off apply to asians too doc?

  2. mayette balangue Says:

    does 60cm cut off apply to asians too doc?

  3. Dr. Nilda Manalo Says:

    Were those people including you and me who were previously overweight but currently on ideal weight w/ thinner thighs be included in that population? It’s a little bit scary.
    P.S. Can I sometimes contact you if I’ve got a little questions regarding patients’ thyroid diseases. Thanks & regards.

  4. maxim Says:

    Hello Doc. This is the first time I heard about this correlation. Makes me want to race for the tape measure.

    Regards Doc.

  5. Sharon Says:

    My husband has very slender thighs and he’s slender all over. He exercises a LOT and is much stronger than he looks, but he never gets any bigger.


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