Whether you call it “belly-fat”, “beer-belly”, “love-handles”, or “tummy-fat”, it’s all Panniculus, not to be confused with ridiculous- a medical term describing a dense layer of fatty tissue growth, consisting of subcutaneous fat in the lower abdominal area. This fat you can see and pinch does more than just threaten your wardrobe. It is the adversary to your greatest investment: “your good health.”
While subcutaneous fat (a fatty layer of tissue that sits just beneath the skin) appears to be little more than a storage vessel for extra calories, belly fat plays a very active role in the body, releasing hormones (chemicals that direct many processes within the body) and other substances.
Abdominal fat, the main culprit behind many of the health problems?
Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Diabetes
The particular hormones that belly fat releases kick your body’s stress response into action, which raises blood pressure, blood sugar and the risk of heart disease. Down the line, high blood pressure increases your odds of having a stroke. These hormones also make it more difficult for your body to process insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. As a result, people with lots of belly fat have a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes. As this fat dumps into the bloodstream, it travels straight to the liver. This is especially problematic because the liver is in charge of making “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, and when it’s bombarded by fat from your abdomen, it tends to make more of the bad kind of cholesterol and less of the good.
Dementia and certain Cancers
Belly fat also takes a major toll on the brain. Some of the chemicals belly fat secretes cause inflammation, which can increase your risk of dementia and depression. Additionally, these hormones increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer: People with more visceral fat have a greater chance of getting colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
How Can I partner with Island Doctors to reduce my health risk?
Regular exercise, a nutritious and balanced diet, plenty of sleep and strategies to manage stress will help you control your weight and keep your belly in check. Tell your Island Doctors provider that you are ready to address this problem, that is more than skin deep. We have resources and additional tools to help you along this journey... Just another way we do more than you've come to expect, from your doctor.