During a medical consultation, several parts of the body can say a lot about your state of health. This is the case with waist measurement, which can indicate several things. Details with Dr. Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens.
For a doctor, your waistline is not an attractive asset. It is above all an element to observe, just like the hands, or even the face, which allows it to assess your state of health. “We talk about auscultation when we use the stethoscope, but the rest of the consultation includes a part of inspection (we look at the patient) and palpation. It is in this context that we will observe the waist circumference of our patient.” explains Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens. And this can reveal several things.
A large waistline reflects a cardiovascular risk
If waist size is not the only sign involved in the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is a good indicator. “The waistline is a reflection of abdominal fat, also called belly, and which presents a risk factor for these diseases” underlines our expert. The number of centimeters measured at this location is therefore important. As a reminder, in Europe, health authorities define abdominal obesity as a waist circumference greater than or equal to 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men.
Stretch marks: a sign of weight gain
On the stomach there may be streaks of red or purple color which often form due to rapid distension of the skin. “The presence of stretch marks can therefore indicate one or more pregnancies, or rapid weight gain to a doctor.” notes Dr. Kerziek.
Scars: previous interventions
For a doctor, the presence of scars is also important in this area, because they necessarily suggest a history: “Scars on the stomach can result from previous injuries, surgeries or previous childbirth. Three important pieces of information”.
Edema: possible kidney failure
Abdominal swelling may be a sign of edema called anasarca. This is most often due to kidney failure, heart failure or cirrhosis.
A swollen belly: perhaps an advanced disease
A swollen stomach, with an abdomen that feels tense and the navel is flat, or even pushed outwards, can be a sign of “ascites”. “Ascites is when you have water around the stomach, but it is also often a sign of a serious and advanced illness, such as cirrhosis or complications of cancer.”
A bulge in the navel: an umbilical hernia
We can also sometimes observe a blister on the stomach at the navel. “This often indicates an umbilical hernia, which indicates weakness in the muscle wall, as the viscera pushes outward.” mentions our doctor.
Stellate angiomas: liver failure
More broadly, stellar angiomas, small ruby red spots, made up of a dilated central vessel surrounded by star-shaped capillaries, may appear on the thorax and abdomen. “For a doctor, this may indicate a sign of liver failure.” says our expert.
Signs that will undoubtedly push your doctor to dig a little deeper into your state of health.