Heart attacks are caused by the supply of blood to the heart being suddenly blocked, according to the NHS.
If the heart doesn’t get enough blood, it can cause the organ serious damage, and may be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded, and having an overwhelming sensation of anxiety.
Analysing patients’ body shape is a better way of assessing heart attack risk than their Body Mass Index (BMI), claimed scientists from the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health.
Heart attack risk is better predicted by looking at your waist-to-hip ratio than general obesity, scientists have revealed.
People with an ‘apple shape’ are most at risk of the deadly condition, they claimed.
An apple shape body is ‘top heavy’, where the most weight is carried in the mid-section.
Analysing how fat is distributed throughout the body could help to identify the most at-risk patients in the future, the researchers added.
“Our findings show that looking at how fat tissue is distributed in the body – especially in women – can give us more insight into the risk of heart attack than measures of general obesity,” said Research Fellow Dr Sanne Peters.
“Our findings also suggest that differences in the way women and men store fat may affect their risk of heart disease.
“Understanding the role sex differences in body fat distribution play in future health problems could lead to sex-specific public-health interventions that could address the global obesity epidemic more effectively.”
There are five main ways to lower your risk of a heart attack, the NHS said.
If you’re a smoker, you should quit smoking. Overweight or obese patients should try to lose weight.
Regular exercise could also help to prevent the condition. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
Eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, and cutting back on alcohol, could lower your risk of a heart attack.