KEY POINTS

  • Visceral fat can cause heart diseases
  • This abdominal fat poses several health risks
  • People who are pear-shaped are healthier 

Visceral fat, also known as abdominal fat, is more of a health concern compared to the subcutaneous fat. It has been linked to several health complications.

The growing waistlines are directly proportional to the number of health risks it poses because the visceral fat is located deep within the abdominal cavity padding the spaces between the abdominal organs.

The ‘middle-age spread’ is a greater concern than ever and one reason why visceral fat is dangerous because it is located near the portal vein that carries blood from the intestinal areas to the liver, Harvard Medical School said.

Here’s a list of all the potential dangers of visceral fat:

1. Diabetes Risk

Carrying a significant amount of visceral fat is reported to be linked to insulin resistance that can lead to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. Studies have demonstrated that the visceral fat secretes a protein called retinol-binding protein 4, which is the main culprit behind insulin resistance.

2. Osteoporosis Risk

Carrying excess visceral fat is reported to put women under a high risk of osteoporosis. A 2010 study has demonstrated that having excess visceral fat has a damaging effect on bone health. The study highlights the fact that abdominal obesity is a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone loss.

3. High Cholesterol

Visceral fat is directly associated with higher total cholesterol levels and LDL levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels. A 2008 study suggested that increased waist circumference was associated with high cholesterol levels, elevating Coronary artery disease risk.

4. High risk of heart diseases

    A 2018 study that involved about 500,000 people reported that individuals with higher waist circumference were at a greater risk of heart attack compared to those who were just heavier overall. Central adiposity, especially pertaining to visceral fat is reported to contribute to an increased risk of heart diseases.

    5. Inflammation

    Excess visceral fat is reported to secrete molecules that increase inflammation. The researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine are the first to document the potential mechanistic link between abdominal fat and systemic inflammation. The study highlights the fact that visceral fat cannot be easily removed surgically since it lies closer to the intestine and other internal organs. So, they analyzed the effect of visceral fat on inflammation and found that visceral fat increases systemic inflammation as well as insulin resistance.