To most people, excess abdominal fat is just a matter of appearance. However, fat in this area is more than the extra weight you’d like to get rid of. Not being proactive about this problem could put your health at risk. Abdominal fat carries a wide array of dangers which I’ll discuss here.
Weak heart health
Excessive abdominal fat has a negative impact on your heart. Fat-generated inflammatory cytokines are the primary contributors to heart disease and a multitude of inflammatory disorders. When inflammation is present in the organism, the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins and cholesterol. As a result, plaque builds up in the arteries. The findings of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that increases in the amount of fat and reduced fat density are correlated with adverse changes in the risk of heart disease. Shockingly, even if a person isn’t overweight, having a larger belly enhances the risk of dying due to heart disease. Fat accumulation in the abdominal area is strongly linked to higher blood pressure and insulin resistance, particularly in postmenopausal women. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of major risk factors for heart disease.
Higher risk of diabetes
Abdominal fat plays a huge role in insulin resistance, thus increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Although the role of abdominal obesity in the development of Type 2 diabetes is still considered controversial, a growing body of evidence shows the relationship is obvious. Multiple studies have discovered that abdominal adiposity is strongly linked to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Interestingly, abdominal fat is a better indicator of the Type 2 diabetes risk than BMI which is a ratio of weight to height, The Guardian reports.
Higher risk of colorectal cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. In 2016, there were 95,270 new cases of colon cancer in the US and 39,220 cases of rectal cancer. One of the primary risk factors for colorectal cancer is excess weight. Also, a study from the journal PLoS One discovered that abdominal fat is positively associated with the prevalence of colorectal cancer.
The fat that accumulates in the abdomen is increasingly regarded as a risk factor for sleep apnea. Researchers from Japan analysed the link between obstructive sleep apnea and abdominal fat in both men and women. They discovered that although fat accumulated in the stomach area posed higher chances for sleep apnea in men, that wasn’t the case in women. Sleep apnea occurs when muscles at the back of the throat close, thus blocking the upper airway and disrupting breathing. This problem is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Losing belly fat improves sleep and therefore reduces the risk of a multitude of diseases. Although the exact mechanism of reducing belly fat for improved sleep is still a mystery to scientists, the current data suggests it can not only help you manage sleep apnea and get a good night’s rest, but also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Dementia isn’t a disease, it’s a term or syndrome used to describe diseases affecting brain and cognition in such a severe manner than an affected individual can’t communicate properly, has a weak memory, limited physical functions and so on. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s and while its exact cause is unknown, scientists have successfully identified various risk factors – and belly fat is one of them. Middle-aged individuals with excess abdominal fat are 3.6 times as likely to suffer from memory loss and dementia later in life. The protein that is responsible for metabolising fat in the liver is the same protein present in the brain area responsible for learning and memory. Individuals with higher levels of abdominal fat have depleted the fat metabolising protein according to a study conducted by scientists at the Rush University Medical Center.
While abdominal fat carries a multitude of hidden health risks, did you know that belly fat can also lead to depression? Excess body fat is associated with hormonal changes, including serotonin, galanin, and other neurotransmitters that play a role in the mood. The Psychosomatic Medicine published results of a study that confirmed the relationship between belly fat and depression, particularly in women.
Abdominal fat isn’t just the matter of appearance, but overall health and wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy weight or working to reduce excess fat in the abdomen will not only help improve your waistline, but you’ll be healthier at the same time.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.