Talking about being overweight can be a sensitive topic for several reasons, and it's essential to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is considered more dangerous than subcutaneous fat (the fat found just beneath the skin) because of its association with various health risks. Visceral fat is stored in the abdominal cavity around important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines.
Visceral fat is close to important organs, and its excessive accumulation can lead to metabolic disturbances. This type of fat is metabolically active and releases fatty acids, inflammatory substances, and hormones directly into the portal vein, influencing liver function. Visceral fat is associated with increased inflammation in the body. The substances released by visceral fat can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation, which is linked to various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Belly fat is strongly correlated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body's cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin. This can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Individuals with excess belly fat are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. The inflammatory substances released by visceral fat can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other cardiovascular issues.
Visceral fat can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, including those involved in appetite regulation and metabolism. This hormonal imbalance may contribute to weight gain and the development of obesity-related health conditions.
Accumulation of 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. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Reducing visceral fat often involves a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. If you have concerns about your weight or abdominal fat, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your individual health status and goals.
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