Body mass index or calculating cholesterol? Doctors agree that a standard measure should be used to determine the general health of their patients. Body mass index or BMI was invented in the 1800's by Adolphe Quetlet. He lived in Belgium and was a mathematician and scientist rather than a doctor. He created this index to calculate whether patients were very obese, obese, normal healthy weight or under weight. He worked out a formula using your weight in kilograms and your height in meters. His formula took your weight divided by the square of your height. The resulting score he called the body mass index.
BMI however does not take into consideration the water levels in the body or the amount of fat tissue or even the build of the person being assessed – bone size / structure. Body builders for example would be seen to have a high BMI level because of their extreme body muscle compared to their height. The scale also is not suitable for really tall people with large bone structures.
Calculating cholesterol by comparison measures blood fat and lipid content. Just a small sample of blood is required to do the test. The test can be carried out by your doctor and hospital clinic, or in your own home using one of the now readily available home testing kits. The results show your total cholesterol level, your low density lipoprotein level, your high density lipoproteins and your triglyceride levels. By knowing these levels you can determine the amount of fat in your blood, the triglyceride level. Your high density lipoproteins are seen as being good for the body and help to keep the more harmful low density lipoproteins in check. And the low density lipoprotein and your total cholesterol level are a good indication of the health if your cardiovascular system. Too high a level can result in cholesterol being deposited in the form of plaque within the treaties and may cause a whole range of cardiovascular diseases in the future if not kept in check. This can include blocked sections leading to heart attacks or heart failure and even strokes if parts of these plaque deposits break free and get lodged in the small capillary tubes within the brain.
When comparing the heart health of the patient by body mass index to cholesterol levels, the BMI requires a degree of judgment by the doctor to determine what should be a suitable score for each patient that is outside of average build and height. Whereas the doctor has a standard measure in calculating cholesterol levels.