It has long been established that having excess fat in the body is a risk for numerous metabolic conditions such as Type II diabetes. Yet, current studies show that the body’s fat content is not the only consideration that leads to such conditions.
The research was covered by Medical News Today, which elaborated on why physicians should evaluate the areas of the body where fat gathers. Sweden’s Uppsala University found that fat usually accumulates around vital organs. These are called visceral fat, which increases Type II diabetes risk, specifically in women.
Visceral fat is not visible from outside the body. It is also a challenge to ascertain where it’s stored in the body. CT scans, dual X-ray absorptiometry, and MRI scans are the costly tests required to see where visceral fat truly is.
Once the visceral fat is calculated in the body, the scientists performed a genome-wide association analysis. The evaluation enabled them to pinpoint visceral fat as a primary risk factor for hyperlipidemia, hypertension, angina, heart attack, and Type II diabetes.
The study’s co-author, Asa Johansson, said that they were surprised that visceral fat was associated with the risk of Type II diabetes in women. An excess of 1 kilogram of visceral fat in women can increase their risk of developing Type II diabetes at least seven times. In men, the risk of Type II diabetes just increases two times.
Another area of the same study concentrated on identifying the specific genes that influence the visceral fat stored in the body of the participants. The said genes have connections to certain behaviors. They suggest that unhealthy lifestyle habits such as sedentary living and overeating are vital factors in storing excess fat around organs.
Even those who don’t appear to be fat can still possess concealed visceral fat that can be harmful to their general health. The scientists hope that their new technique in assessing visceral fat can make it quicker and easier for health specialists to spot patients who are at risk of metabolic or cardiovascular conditions.