Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What is Visceral Fat?


A recent article about belly fat and dementia is all over the news. The article refers specifically to "visceral fat" that surrounds the internal organs. This type of fat can be life threatening.

My 91 year old mother suffers from Alzheimer's and has large deposits of visceral fat. This occurred late in her life and is due to bad eating habits and her loss of desire to move around or stay active.


Source Wise Geek

Visceral fat is different from other body fat. Visceral fat, also called intra-abdominal fat, refers to the fat that surrounds the internal organs. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is body fat that is close to the skin's surface and is considered less dangerous, and easier to lose, than visceral fat.

Studies have shown that those with visceral fat are more susceptible to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension. Sedentary people, smokers and drinkers have been shown to have more intra-abdominal fat, or visceral fat, than active people who are non-smokers and non-drinkers. Stress may also be a factor in the storage of visceral fat on the body.

Visceral fat is harder to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is more deeply embedded in the body's tissues. Visceral fat is only measured accurately by an imaging machine that can see how much of the abdomen is made up of visceral fat. A person may be within a healthy weight range, but still have too much intra-abdominal fat around the internal organs.

The liver metabolizes visceral fat and releases it into the bloodstream as cholesterol. Harmful, or "bad" cholesterol, which is Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), builds up into a plaque that blocks the arteries. Losing weight through proper diet and effective exercise can help reduce visceral fat. How much fat a person eats does matter as studies have shown that those who eat 30% or more of their diets as fat usually have high amounts of visceral fat.

Walking is considered by many health and fitness experts to be a much better way of helping to control visceral fat than by doing exercises such as swimming where gravity keeps the body afloat. Walking at a fairly fast pace for a half an hour six days a week has been shown to help reduce visceral fat, while walking only three days a week has not been shown to have much affect on the reduction of visceral fat. However, doing no exercise at all has shown to increase the amount of visceral fat in the body.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,880 articles with more than 95,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.


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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room