Abdominal Fat: How Dangerous is it?

A protruding belly is not attractive. This is how we’ve been programmed to view belly fat, and this is exactly how we see it – an unwanted blemish of one’s appearance. For a moment though, let’s move past the cosmetic considerations and see the truth that really matters, i.e., the presence of excess abdominal fat is a grave health concern.

Various research studies show conclusively that the accumulation of fat around the abdomen (also referred to as visceral fat) significantly increases an individual’s risk to various ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as Type II diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses.

Here’s a look at some of the more important ill effects of abdominal fat:

Increases the risk of heart disease – Research shows that abdominal fat restricts blood flow. This, in turn, puts extra pressure on the heart, as well as on the coronary arteries. As a result, your chances of developing high blood pressure and heart disease increases manifold.

Increases the risk of Type II diabetes – Fat around the belly promotes a condition called insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type II diabetes.

Our pancreas release insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels. However, abdominal fat cells disrupt the hormonal balance in our body. As a result, our cells stop responding to insulin the way they should (this is referred to as insulin resistance). When this happens, our blood sugar levels shoot up alarmingly. The excess sugar in the blood attaches itself to our cells and is eventually converted to a poisonous substance called sorbitol. This poisonous substance destroys our cells and then damages nerves, arteries, and other tissues.

Hampers brain functions in the elderly – A recent study reveals that elderly people with bigger bellies had worse memory and less verbal fluency than those who had a normal waist to hip ratio.

Increases the risk of colorectal cancer among women – Latest studies show that women who had a waist to hip ratio higher than 0.85 have a 25% higher chance of developing colorectal cancer than women who had a normal waist to hip ratio. This finding has exploded the earlier belief that the dangers of abdominal fat are only limited to cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.

Now that you are aware of the health hazards a bulging belly leads to, you must do something about it. Remember that your health, and yes, your appearance too, is in your hands. Starting today, embrace a healthier lifestyle to reduce abdominal fat and the various health risks associated with it.