In a new study, scientists found that neck circumference could help predict a deadly cluster of heart risk factors.
They suggest that a big neck may signal a high risk of metabolic syndrome.
The research was conducted by a team from Adventist Medical Centre Manila in Pasay City.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of diabetes or pre-diabetes, high belly fat, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
It is estimated that about 25% of the world’s population has this condition. These people are three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
In the study, the team found that neck circumference could be a simple and quick way to identify people at a high risk of metabolic syndrome.
They examined the link between neck circumference and the components of metabolic syndrome.
The study included 160 adults who underwent a medical check-up. Among the people, 16% had metabolic syndrome based on waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and lipid levels.
The researchers found that neck circumference was much higher when people had high blood pressure or diabetes.
In addition, a bigger neck was linked to lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the good type of cholesterol.
Higher neck circumference was also linked to higher levels of triglycerides and higher fasting blood glucose.
The researchers suggest that neck circumference over 40 cm for men and 36 cm for women can help identify adults with metabolic syndrome.
They suggest that neck circumference may be a better predictor of metabolic syndrome than waist circumference, which can be affected by breathing and stomach fullness.
They also suggest that people with metabolic syndrome need to eat a healthy diet, do exercise regularly, maintain healthy body weight, and have check their health conditions regularly.
One author of the study is Dr. Pacifico D. Gines III, of the Adventist Medical Centre Manila.
The study is published in Current Hypertension Reports.
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