Signs and Health Risks of Visceral Obesity
Adipose tissue is known to affect the aesthetics of the body and limit mobility. However, it plays an essential role in regulating metabolic processes, body temperature, and appetite. There is no need to mention that body fat is related to the risks of developing a range of diseases, depending on its volume and type. Adipose tissue can be found in various places throughout the body. Most fat is stored underneath the skin. It feels soft to the touch and can be pinched. These characteristics make it easy to determine the location of adipose tissue accumulation.
Visceral fat deposits, on the other hand, lie deeper in the body, wrapping around abdominal organs. Small amounts of visceral fat often go unnoticed. But this type poses a greater danger than others due to its association with several major health problems.
Dangers of Visceral Obesity
- If you gain excess weight, it can increase visceral fat volume. Over time, it puts additional pressure on the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. As a result, the outflow of bile becomes blocked, leading to disruption of the digestion process. The stagnant bile in the gallbladder turns into sludge first, then sand, and finally forms stones.
- Excessive abdominal fat can physically compress the heart, causing high blood pressure and significantly increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Researchers have found that retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) is secreted by visceral fat. This protein is associated with insulin resistance, which contributes to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.
- An excess amount of visceral fat can prevent blood from moving easily within the portal vein, which brings blood to the liver from the intestines. Consequently, fat cells enter the liver from the intestine, affecting both the levels of cholesterol and fat.
- An increase in abdominal fat makes significant changes in blood flow and blood supply to internal organs. The impaired functioning of organs causes various disorders.
- The results of medical research confirm the negative impact of visceral fat on the functioning of hormones and its ability to cause serious disruptions in the body, including sex hormone imbalances.
There are also many cases in which adipose tissue provoked the production of cells, which subsequently turned into tumors. Such a process is especially common among menopausal women.
How to Tell If You Have Visceral Obesity?
- The first sign that you have excess abdominal adipose tissue accumulation is an increase in waist circumference. You find it difficult to wear a seatbelt properly, your pants feel tighter around the waist, or wearing belts makes you uncomfortable. Measure your waist using a tape measure. Normal waist circumference should be at or below 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.
- Another indicator is BMI (body mass index), which is based on weight and height measurements. Having a BMI over 30 is considered dangerous.
- Waist-to-hip ratio. Relax your stomach and measure your waist at the belly button. Then measure your hips at their widest point. Divide your waist size by your hip size. Ideally, men should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.95 or less, whereas women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.85 or less.
Causes of Visceral Fat
- Genetic factors. It is common for children whose parents have obesity to be at an increased risk of developing the condition and abdominal visceral fat accumulation.
- Low levels of physical activity. People living a sedentary lifestyle tend to store up fat rapidly compared to energetic and active people.
- Poor nutrition. Sweets, bakery products, fresh pastries, excess sugar, and cravings for foods high in fat also contribute to the accumulation of fat.
- Alcohol. Alcohol consumption causes hormonal disturbances, which also relate to the visceral fat formation in the abdominal cavity.
- Stress and sleep deprivation. The most common stress response of the body is emotional tension. People often use calorie-dense and delicious foods to cope with negative emotions.
How to Get Rid of Visceral Deposits
Visceral and subcutaneous fat have the same principle of accumulation. This means that visceral fat can be reduced by using similar methods such as exercise, lifestyle and dietary changes.
cut out fast carbohydrates
- exercise regularly
- eliminate fast food and trans fats from your diet
- drink plenty of water
- sleep more than 6 hours a day
- avoid stress