Signs Your Visceral Fat is Making You Sick

Doctors reveal ways that visceral fat is causing you health problems.

Having too much abdominal fat is one of the most underrated health issues that's not talked about enough. Unlike the fat that you can see and pinch, visceral fat lies deep within your belly and it wraps around your organs. It's highly dangerous because it can lead to significant health issues like type 2 diabetes, an increased risk of several cancers and raises your chances of having a fatty liver. Dr. Sepehr Lalezari Surgeon and Weight Loss Specialist with Dignity Health St. Mary in Long Beach says "There are various ways to get an idea of dangerous levels of visceral fat but an easy way to get a rough estimate is waist size. For men a waist of >40in is a sign to lose weight and for that number is 35 inches." Eat This, Not That! Health talked to doctors who explained various ways visceral fat can make you sick and what to do about it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1. Men Have More Visceral Fat

Dr. Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and Women's Health Expert at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA explains, "When present, visceral fat is stored deep in the abdomen in men and women. Men tend to have more visceral fat & tend to store all their fat in their upper bodies. Women seem to have evolved to have a higher amount of subcutaneous body fat, usually stored in the hips, buttock and thigh areas. Fat below the waist is considered less healthy than that found above the waist."

2. Overeating Processed Foods Doesn't Help

Dr. Jonathan Adam Fialkow, cardiologist and lipidologist at Baptist Health's Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute explains, "People who deposit energy (calories) in their visceral fat are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. This is a hormonal consequence, often, to overeating of processed and refined foods including sugars. Visceral fat is metabolically active and:

  • releases proteins and hormones that increase inflammation. Inflammation is a driver of coronary artery disease, hypertension, kidney disease and dementia. Visceral fat leads to insulin resistance which drives Type 2 diabetes
  • visceral fat accumulation in your abdomen can compress one's internal organs interfering with normal functioning like breathing and eating/digestion
  • whether by the inflammation it produces or other mechanisms, increased visceral fat is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers."

3. Loosened Belt Notch

Dr. Lalezari states, "Increased waist circumference is an early indicator of increasing visceral fat. Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is associated with a slew of diseases as well as resistance to the effects of insulin often leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Insulin resistance, the associated hyperinsulinemia, high blood sugars, and cellular mediators may also lead to damage of the lining of our blood vessels, an abnormal lipid profile, high blood pressure, and inflammation! And why does all this matter? It's because the combination of these things promote the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) which leads to devastating heart attacks and strokes!"

4. Obesity

According to Dr. Lalezari, "Obesity is linked to many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, the list really goes on and on. Increased weight makes us feel tired as our bodies are in a state of constant inflammation. We tend to feel tired, fatigued, our minds are cloudy and we just don't feel like ourselves. Just the other day a patient told me that after losing 50lbs three months after weight loss surgery, it was the first time in years she had felt like her true self. It almost brought me to tears as she told me about all her struggles with obesity. Obesity not only affects the body but also the mind and soul. But there are ways to beat the sickness and improve our overall well being, you just need to find the right partner to help guide you through the obstacles we all face with weight loss. As I always tell my patients, weight loss is a journey and we will 'journey strong' together!"

5. Too Much Fat Around Your Midsection

Julie Bednarski MHSc, PHEc, RD Founder/CEO Healthy Crunch states, "Having some body fat is perfectly healthy and normal, but the reason why having too much visceral fat around your midsection is concerning as it's close to many vital organs which might put you at risk for healthy complications including Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. A quick way to determine how much visceral fat a person might be carrying is to measure the size of their waist. A woman whose wait measures 35 inches or more is likely to have excess visceral fat. This might increase your risk of developing health conditions linked to excess visceral." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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