The Hidden Dangers of Excess Belly Fat You Should Know

man holding his excess belly fat

If you have excess body fat, then you may not know how dangerous it can be to your overall health. If you want to find out why visceral fat is so dangerous then the only thing that you need to do is take a look below.

What is Visceral Fat?

Body fat comes in two different types. You have subcutaneous fat which is a layer of fat that’s just underneath the skin. Subcutaneous fat is also deep within the abdomen and it surrounds your organs. This can include your intestines, pancreas, liver and intestine. Visceral fat on the other hand is much more dangerous. It’s the worrisome variety because it gives you a much higher risk of developing heart disease. Men seem to have more of the visceral variety, whereas women tend to carry more of the subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat can go unnoticed because it is not really visible to the naked eye. One way that researchers locate visceral fat is through an MRI. This uses magnetic fields to take a picture of the organs inside the abdomen. Researchers then use this as a picture to estimate how much weight you are carrying.

How Much Belly Fat is Too Much?

If your waist measures 35 inches+ as a woman, or 40 inches+ as a man then there’s a high chance that you have a dangerous amount of belly fat. If you do nothing else today to try and protect your health, then at least try and take an honest measurement of your whole waist. If you want to do this then simply follow the steps below.

How to Measure your Belly Fat

If you want to measure your belly fat:

–        Stand up straight and exhale

–        Use a soft tape measure and record your girth

–        Make sure you do this an inch or so above your hip bone

This result has way more implications than you realise. If your waist is above the numbers mentioned above, then you may well be harbouring a very dangerous amount of belly fat. As explained above, subcutaneous fat lurks beneath the skin. This can be called love handles or even padding on the thighs and buttocks. Getting rid of fat like this can be challenging, but other than this, it’s relatively harmless. The deeper belly fat on the other hand is metabolically active. It’s strongly linked to heart disease, dementia and cancer.

Do you Need to Be Overweight to Have Too Much Belly Fat?

You really don’t have to be overweight in order to face these hazards. Even those who are of a normal weight can accumulate a large amount of body fat. What’s even more worrisome is that you cannot shed this weight by simply doing sit-ups. Weight loss for this kind of fat needs walking and strength training. Until midlife, studies have shown that women tend to have a lower amount of visceral fat when compared to men. The pattern flips when a woman has been through the menopause.

Is Visceral Fat Important to your Health?

We know now that too much visceral fat is detrimental to your health, but you have to make sure that you have some of it in order to function. Visceral fat is an endocrine organ, and it secretes hormones. One of them includes a retinol-binding protein. This is otherwise known as RBP4. If you have too much of this protein, which results from having too much body fat, then you are at a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. This hazard results from the harmful impact that this protein has on your level of insulin resistance. This is the precursor to diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and it also contributes to the development of the metabolic syndrome.

Studies have shown that those who are overweight are twice as likely to develop heart disease. For every two inches you are over the recommended waist size, your chances of developing heart disease raises by 10%.

The Risk of Cancer

cancer patient in hospital bed

The risk of cancer is also greatly increased as the result of excess body fat. The chances of getting colorectal cancer double if you are a menopausal woman with excess visceral fat. This was found in a Korean study. As if that wasn’t enough the risk of breast cancer also increases. A study was done in India and it showed that women who had a waist as big as their hips were up to four times as likely to develop breast cancer when compared to women of a normal weight. Dutch studies have also shown a link between body fat and breast cancer. When women lost around 12lbs on average, they had a lower chance of developing cancer. With two-thirds of women in America being overweight, it would seem that weight loss is the best weapon when it comes to lowering the number of breast cancer diagnoses in the country.

Dementia

dementia patient trying to read

A study has also been done in Northern California. The study involved 6,583 people who were followed for a period of 36 years. Those who had a greater level of abdominal obesity were up to 3 times more likely to develop mental conditions such as dementia when compared to those who didn’t have as much abdominal fat. Having a large abdomen will also put you at a higher risk of dementia even if your weight is normal.

You are also more at risk of developing diabetes or a stroke. Even the risk of asthma is increased as the result of being overweight, so this is very important for you to keep this in mind. Of course, if you want to help yourself, then losing weight is the best thing that you can do. When you lose weight, you will soon see that you are able to feel better in yourself and you will also drastically lower the chances of developing heart disease at a later date.