Countless Americans wish they could lose a few pounds; however, for certain people, unwanted fat could be especially problematic. If you’ve been carrying around that old proverbial spare tire, learn why you could be at risk for a number of troubling health problems.
Risks of Belly Fat
Unlike ordinary fat around the arms, buttocks and thighs, belly fat is comprised of both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat, which lies deep inside your abdomen and surrounds your organs. This visceral fat is biologically active, because it causes the body to produce leptin, adiponectin and other hormones which influence metabolism and blood sugar.
Regardless of your overall weight, having significant belly fat increases your risk of:
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Colorectal cancer
What Causes Belly Fat?
Excess weight is invariably related to diet and exercise. That said, genetics plays a key role in determining where our bodies store fat. Likewise, as people age, they are more likely to store excess fat around the midsection.
By producing excess cytokines, visceral belly fat promotes constant low-level inflammation and insulin resistance. It also increases LDL or “bad” cholesterol and lowers HDL or “good” cholesterol. Studies have also linked belly fat with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
Reducing your Risk
While a perfectly flat stomach may not be realistic, a healthier body type is. If you’d like to eliminate your belly fat, schedule an appointment with your doctor, who can help you plan a realistic strategy that will yield results.