A lot of people have visceral fat, but it’s not always bad. It is stored around your organs and can build up in layers, which makes it difficult to lose. It’s one of the most dangerous types of fat because it can lead to an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Some people live with their visceral fat without any issues, but others experience symptoms that could indicate a more serious issue. Here are some signs that you need to see a doctor about your visceral fat.
What is Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat is the kind of fat that you can feel. It wraps around your internal organs and surrounds your abdominal cavity. It is different from subcutaneous adipose, which is the kind of deposits that you can pinch or see on the upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. Subcutaneous means “underneath the skin.” Visceral fat is also referred to as organ fat because it surrounds major organs such as the liver and pancreas, which are located in your abdomen. This type of extra body deposit may be more dangerous than subcutaneous adipose because it tends to accumulate around internal organs rather than just under skin surfaces where it’s easier to measure with calipers or scales.
Visceral fat was once considered harmless—and not a problem for most people to worry about losing. But recent research has shown that it may be more serious than previously thought, and could lead to high blood pressure and heart disease as well as diabetes. That makes it important to know if you have too much visceral deposits on your body, so you can take steps toward reducing its effects on your health.
It isn’t always easy to tell if someone has a lot of visceral fat because there are no outward signs of it, unlike subcutaneous fatty deposits (like love handles) which are clearly visible when someone looks down at their body from above.
Why is Visceral Fat Dangerous?
It is deadly. It increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and dementia. It makes asthma worse and has also been linked to depression and osteoarthritis. This fat secretes hormones that are involved in inflammation – a major cause of heart disease – as well as insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes. It’s also associated with higher levels of circulating blood adipose including triglycerides (a type of deposits found in the bloodstream) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – both known contributors to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries that can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD).
How to lose it?
- Lose weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise – Exercising not only helps you burn fat, it also releases endorphins that make you feel good and reduce stress levels, which can lead to overeating and weight gain in the long run.
- Avoid sugar and processed foods – Sugar causes your blood sugar to spike in the short term, but sustained high blood sugar levels can lead to Type 2 diabetes and other serious health conditions over time. Processed foods are typically high in sodium (salt), trans deposits, and refined carbs like white bread or pasta that leave your body without essential nutrients—which is why they cause cravings for more sugar later on.
- Avoid smoking as smoking can also increase inflammation levels in the body as well as cause increased stress on your organs (including your liver) due to toxic chemicals contained within cigarettes such as nicotine and tar that can damage these critical organs over time if you continue to smoke regularly without taking steps towards quitting altogether.
- It’s also essential to avoid alcohol if possible because excess alcohol consumption has been linked to an increase in belly deposits. Alcohol also suppresses appetite-reducing hormones—which can cause you to eat more than necessary.
5 Signs You Need to See a Doctor About Your Visceral Fat
You have high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure is when the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries pushes against them with too much force. This can lead to serious health problems such as coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and kidney failure.
The American Heart Association recommends that you have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years if you’re 18 years old or older. If you have high blood pressure or if it’s not controlled well enough by lifestyle changes like diet and exercise alone then other medications may be needed to lower it.
pre – diabetes
One of the most common complications associated with visceral fat is pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which our blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. While pre-diabetes doesn’t cause any symptoms, it does increase our risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It also increases our risk of blindness, nerve damage, and gum disease; increased risk of erectile dysfunction; and an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects.
Waist to hip proportion
Waist to hip ratio is an indicator of this fat and a better tool than BMI for determining whether we need to consult a physician.
WHR is calculated by dividing waist circumference by hip circumference. A large waist, even if paired with smaller hips, can indicate an increased risk for health issues related to excess weight and body adipose distribution. WHR has been shown in many studies to be more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors than total body mass index (BMI), particularly among older adults. This may be due to the fact that high WHR is associated with higher levels of triglycerides, lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind), higher systolic blood pressure, higher insulin resistance, and greater insulin secretion from the pancreas after meals compared with low WHR values.
A person with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to have healthy body weight. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC also notes that if our waist measurement, which is measured around the belly button area (not at the hip), is greater than 35 inches in women and greater than 40 inches in men, we may be at increased risk for health problems related to visceral fat.
Check your waist circumference
Measure our waist circumference. We can do this with a tape measure or use the chart below to estimate it by hand.
- Men: Less than 37 inches (94 cm)
- Women: Less than 31 inches (80 cm)
If we’re over these numbers, we may want to consider consulting a physician about our visceral fat levels. Visceral fat is particularly dangerous because it’s stored beneath the muscle fibers in our abdomen and can increase our risk of heart disease and diabetes. To check for signs of visceral fat, try measuring around our belly button—if there’s too much overlap here, that means that some of those extra pounds are actually coming from deep inside instead of just being distributed throughout the rest of our body.
If we have any of the symptoms discussed above, it’s probably time to see a physician. If our doctor suspects that we have visceral fat, they can order blood tests and other types of testing to confirm this. Once diagnosed, our doctor will be able to help us manage the disease and reduce our risk of developing more serious health problems.
We hope this article has helped shed some light on what visceral fat is and how it affects different people; now it’s time for us all to ensure we stay healthy.