How Abdominal Fat Affects Heart Health

If you have a lot of abdominal fat, you’ll be interested to know how it can affect your heart health. In this article, we'll discuss this issue in more detail.
How Abdominal Fat Affects Heart Health

Last update: 16 September, 2020

Being overweight can affect aesthetics, as well as your heart and overall health. Having a higher percentage of fat than recommended can increase the risk of developing complex diseases in the medium and long term. In this sense, you must learn how abdominal fat affects heart health.

Before we begin, we need to clarify that, although we’re emphasizing abdominal fat, what really counts is total fatty tissue. However, many people accumulate adipocytes in this area, which is why experts conducted a series of studies that relate the perimeter of the abdomen itself with the risk of cardiovascular death.

How abdominal fat affects health health

According to research published in the Spanish Journal of Cardiology, abdominal fat is closely related to the risk of hypertension. It’s clear that a poor diet can lead to excess weight, which is also related to an increase in blood pressure.

Regular intake of simple sugars, trans fats, excess calories, and even sodium has a decisive influence on cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Experts consider this last parameter a risk factor for heart attacks when it exceeds certain values.

The more fatty tissue you have, the worse your organs function

A high percentage of abdominal fat also reveals a significant and dangerous amount of adipose tissue around the main organs of your body. This negatively affects their function and hinders their optimal performance.

A man with and without abdominal fat.

In fact, a study published in The Journals of Gerontology showed that an increase in fatty tissue in the abdomen significantly increases the probability of dying from cardiovascular problems.

The accumulation of fat in your abdomen doesn’t only affect your heart. In fact, other important organs such as the pancreas and liver are also affected by weight gain.

Even the lungs of obese patients suffer. Therefore, having adequate weight is much more important than many people may believe.

You can avoid obesity with a balanced diet

Fortunately, there’s a very effective way to prevent obesity, excess overweight, and developing abdominal fat. Eating an adequate, varied, and balanced diet will ensure an adequate body composition, as long as you exercise regularly.

For example, frequent consumption of vegetables is associated with a smaller abdominal girth. In addition, it’s also associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular accidents. However, both simple sugars such as alcohol and trans fats have the opposite effect.

In order to reduce the percentage of fat and improve your health, experts recommend prioritizing the consumption of fresh foods over ultra-processed ones. This way, you ensure the supply of fiber and essential micronutrients. This can guarantee the functioning of the organs and physiological reactions.

Also, regular strength exercises help to boost metabolism, increase muscle tone, and, as a result, reduce abdominal fat. To this habit, you can add effective dietary strategies, such as intermittent fasting or reducing your carbohydrate intake.

A few vegetables on a plate.

Abdominal fat determines heart health

As you’ve seen, abdominal fat is a lot more than just an aesthetic issue. Accumulating fatty tissue, including in this area, is associated with a greater risk of death, especially due to cardiovascular events.

For this reason, you need to watch your diet and exercise regularly. These are the two most effective mechanisms to ensure correct body composition and prevent the onset of diseases in the medium and long term.

Keep in mind that abdominal fat often reflects the accumulation of fatty tissue around the body’s internal organs. This situation conditions their functioning and the physiological reactions that occur inside them.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s easier to maintain an adequate weight than to lose weight. Due to this, it’s important for you to adopt good lifestyle habits from the first stages of your life to avoid situations that you may have a hard time reversing.

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  • Sangrós FJ., Torrecilla J., Giráldez García C., Carrillo L., et al., Association of general and abdominal obesity with hypertension, dyslipidemia and prediabetes in the PREDAPS study. Rev Esp Cardiol, 2018. 71 (3): 170-177.
  • Chuang SY., Hsu YY., Chen RCY., Liu WL., Pan WH., Abdominal obesity and low skeletal muscle mass jointly predict total mortality and cardiovascular mortality in an elderly asian population. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2016. 71 (8): 1049-55.