Belly fat, aka Abdominal visceral fat or intra-abdominal fat, is the fat that surrounds the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. Excessive accumulation of visceral fat can pose several health risks. Here are some potential dangers associated with abdominal visceral fat:
1. Increased risk of chronic diseases: Excess visceral fat is strongly linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. This is because visceral fat releases inflammatory substances and hormones that can disrupt normal metabolic processes and contribute to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar levels, and abnormal lipid profiles.
2. Metabolic syndrome: Visceral fat is a key component of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. Having metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
3. Insulin resistance: Visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which can progress to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.
4. Hormonal imbalances: Visceral fat can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, including those involved in appetite regulation, metabolism, and inflammation. This can contribute to weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and an increased risk of hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.
5. Cardiovascular complications: Excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Visceral fat releases fatty acids into the bloodstream, which can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and impair their function.
6. Reduced lung function: Visceral fat can compress the diaphragm and restrict lung expansion, leading to decreased lung function and increased risk of respiratory problems.
It is important to note that everyone’s body composition and health risks are unique. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress levels, can help reduce abdominal visceral fat and mitigate the associated health risks.