Abdominal obesity is when fat is located around the stomach area. Excessive abdominal fat has been linked to a number of medical conditions and disorders. From cardiovascular issues to water retention, belly fat can cause a wide range of health problems for individuals.
What is Abdominal Fat?
Belly fat is slightly different than normal types of fat. Many parts of the body have subcutaneous fat that is present just below the skin. On the stomach, there are actually several different kinds of fat present. The subcutaneous fat is beneath the skin while intramuscular fat is throughout the skeletal muscle. For water retention patients, visceral fat is the type to be concerned about. This type of fat is commonly known as organ fat. It is packed around and among the organs in the torso. Made up of adipose tissue, the fat can make the stomach protrude into a beer belly or pot belly. When this stomach area is touched, it may still feel hard because the fat is below the muscles and skin. Unfortunately, high amounts of abdominal fat can increase an individual’s risk for a number of different diseases.
What are The Causes of Belly Fat?
The majority of fat on the body develops due to an energy imbalance. Belly fat is directly caused by more calories being consumed each day than are used. Each person’s body stores this fat in different ways. Some individuals seem predisposed by their genetics or environment to develop belly fat instead of fat in other parts of their body. Studies have also indicated that maternal smoking, hormones and a metabolism imbalance can also lead to abdominal fat. If too much abdominal fat is accumulated, it can change how the entire body functions. By-products from the fat are released into the blood stream. Once it is in the blood stream, the fatty acids and triglycerides are sent to the liver where they cause lipotoxicity.
Other conditions like Cushing’s syndrome can lead to central obesity. Cortisol that is produced during times of stress can increase the amount of abdominal fat. In addition, certain medications and low activity levels can lead to excess fat accumulation.
What are The Risk Factors Associated with Belly Fat?
Being overweight has been linked to a rise in cardiovascular problems, diabetes, hypertension, strokes and heart attacks. When this fat is focused is visceral fat within the abdomen, it heightens the risks of all of these problems. In addition, individuals may end up developing fatty liver disease or colorectal cancer. This type of abdominal fat can harm the majority of the body’s organs because of its location. Since it is wrapped around the different organs, the added weight can place undue pressure on the liver, lungs or kidneys. Statistically, individuals with a higher amount of belly fat have a higher risk of dying prematurely. Some studies have even shown that normal weight individuals that have a larger waistline have the same added risks for cardiovascular disease.
How Can Belly Fat Cause Water Retention?
Belly fat does not directly cause water retention. Instead, the conditions may occur concurrently. The type of lifestyle that leads to abdominal fat can also cause water retention. Lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption, high sodium intake, poor diet and lack of physical activity can increase the incidence of belly fat. In addition, these factors can cause water retention. Individuals may also have problems distinguishing between water retention and belly fat. When water retention is present, the enlarged abdomen will not remain consistent in appearance. Diuretics would make it shrink in size and fluctuations may occur throughout the day. With belly fat, the larger stomach will always be present.
How Can Belly Fat be Prevented?
Like many medical conditions, preventing belly fat is easier than curing it. The easiest way to prevent this condition is to live a healthy lifestyle. The number of calories consumed each day must be equal or less than the number of calories burned. Each pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. If someone eats an unnecessary 3,500 calories, this will be stored as one pound of fat.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, individuals should exercise. The most effective exercises for preventing belly fat are aerobic and strength training. When performed together, these two techniques can greatly reduce the amount of fat in the abdomen. Reducing stress and cortisol levels can also help.
Although belly fat does not cause water retention, the two problems can be related. Many of the same lifestyle habits that lead to abdominal fat can encourage the creation of water retention. As the fat pushes on different organs, it can make it difficult for fluid to be removed from the body. In order to treat these conditions, individuals should see their doctor and consider the different natural supplements that are available.