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Where your body stores fat may increase your heart attack risk…

by , 29 November 2017
Where your body stores fat may increase your heart attack risk…
You'd think that it's the amount of fat in your body that affects your risk for heart attack and other chronic health problems.

However, a new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America shows that it's actually where your body stores fat that affects your risk not only for heart attack, but also stroke and diabetes.

To reach these findings, the researchers looked at the differences in fat distribution patterns among overweight and obese men and women and their associated cardiometabolic risk or, in other words, their risk of having heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Keep reading for the full story.

Excess body weight and obesity are massive problems in South Africa…

According to the most recent statistics, almost 70% of local women are either overweight or obese. South Africa has the highest rates for women in the whole of Africa! Excess body weight and obesity aren’t only problems in adults in South Africa, though – 13% of children are overweight or obese, too. That’s more than double the global average of 5%.
Excess weight and obesity puts people at risk for a variety of serious health problems. However, people of the same weight or body mass index (BMI) may have very different cardiometabolic risk profiles, based on their genetics, lifestyle and diet. Plus, body composition differs between men and women – women have proportionately more fat, while men have more muscle mass.
Fat distribution plays a big role in cardiometabolic risk. You’ve probably heard of the phrases ‘pear-shaped’ and ‘apple-shaped’ – common descriptors of body shapes based on where fat is stored. The type of fat also plays a role – for example, ectopic fat, which may be found in places such as the abdominal region, muscles, liver and organs, is particularly dangerous.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the average South

African has a heart age eight years older than the real age


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Study finds that where fat is stored can increase risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes

The researchers looked at 200 young overweight and obese who were otherwise healthy with an average age of 37. The men and women had a similar BMI. After fasting overnight, the people in the study underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and CT scans to determine their body composition. They also underwent magnetic resonance spectroscopy for fat quantification an analysis.
The results revealed that women had more fat and subcutaneous fat but lower lean mass. The men had more visceral adipose tissue or ectopic fat depots in their abdomens around internal organs as well as more ectopic fat in their muscles and liver.
Compared to the women, the men had higher measures of cardiometabolic risk overall. However, the researchers didn’t tie ectopic fat to cardiometabolic risk in men. In women, however, ectopic fat was strongly associated with cardiometabolic risk measures.
“The detrimental fat depots deep in the belly, muscles and liver are more damaging for cardiometabolic health in women compared to men,” the study author concluded.

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