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The Dangers of Hidden Abdominal Fat
What Is Visceral Fat?
What Causes Visceral Fat?
|Women||Greater than 88 centimeters (35 inches)|
|Men||Greater than 102 centimeter (40 inches)|
The Health Risks of Abdominal Fat
- Type 2 Diabetes —Studies have shown that adults with large deposits of visceral fat develop lower sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance). Since these people do not respond to the effects of insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels, they can develop type 2 diabetes.
- Coronary Heart Disease—Visceral fat may promote the release of cytokines, chemicals that regulate the immune response. Cytokines promote inflammation that affects the coronary arteries, which contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. Extra fat around the waist may also lead to high blood pressure, lower levels of HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol), and can increase the risk of stroke.
- Metabolic Syndrome—This combination of abnormal blood sugar levels, elevated triglycerides, low good cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure has been observed even in some normal-weight people (BMI less than 25 kg/m 2) with extra abdominal fat.
- Sleep Apnea —Increased visceral fat has been associated with the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea since deep abdominal fat can restrict the movement of the diaphragm and limit lung expansion.
How Do You Get Rid of Visceral Fat?
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://win.niddk.nih.gov/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Healthy Living Unit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
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Determination of degree of abdominal obesity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/e%5Ftxtbk/txgd/4112.htm. Accessed on July 12, 2012.
Klein S. The case of visceral fat: argument for the defense. J Clin Invest. 2004; 113:1530-1532.
Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob%5Fgdlns.pdf. Accessed July 12, 2012.
Excess fat around the waist may increase death risk for women. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/apr2008/niddk-07.htm. Accessed July 12, 2012.
Ogretmenoglu O, Ahmet S, Omer Y, et al. Body fat composition: a predictive factor for obstructive Sleep apnea. Laryngoscope. 2005; 115:1493-1498.
Rendell M, Hulthen U, Tornquist C, et al. Relationship between abdominal fat compartments and glucose and lipid metabolism in early postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001; 86:744-749.
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Sharma A. Mediastinal fat, insulin resistance, and hypertension. Hypertension. 2004; 44:117-118.
Sung J, DeRegis JR, Bacher AC, et al. Lower dietary polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio is associated with visceral adiposity. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology; March 30, 2003.
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Vgontzas A, Papanicolaou A, Bixler E, et al. Sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness and fatigue: relation to visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and hypercytokinemia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2000; 85:1151-1158.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2012
- Update Date: 07/12/2012