It is a well-known fact that the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with extra belly fat. But, researchers recently found that deep belly fat can increase this risk by seven times, particularly in women. The belly fat may be invisible as it accumulates around organs and intestines.
A study states that doctors can predict the risk of diabetes by assessing the accumulation of fat through the body.
Recent research from Uppsala University in Sweden was co-led by Torgny Karlsson. They collected data from 325,153 individuals and analyzed it through UK Biobank.
This research suggests that this visceral fat is a significant factor that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. The risk is significantly high in women.
It is difficult to evaluate visceral fat because it is invisible. We cannot simply determine how much visceral fat is stored in the body. To analyze it, we must perform certain expensive tests such as MRI, CT scans and dual X-ray absorptiometry.
To evaluate visceral fat in an effective cost, the researchers of this study have developed an efficient method. It helped them to evaluate how this fat can lead to health risks.
They developed a technique. It estimates an individual’s amount of deep belly fat measured from other parameters rather than the visceral fat itself. This method is helpful in many clinical setups.
The risk is seven times higher in women
The researchers calculated visceral fat of participants and analyzed genome-wide associations. This enabled them to classify visceral fat as a top risk factor for hypertension, diabetes, heart attack and hyperlipidemia.
The research also explains that this fat is related to the risk of disease in women than men. They found that the highest risk was for type 2 diabetes.
Åsa Johansson said that adding 1 kilogram of visceral fat in women increases the risk of diabetes by seven times. However, the risk in men increases not more than two times for the same amount of fat.
The researchers explain that this is not same for all women. Individuals who have a mild or moderate visceral fat increase in risk more rapidly with fat increase. However, in women with a high amount of deep belly fat, the risk for type 2 diabetes increases quite less with fat increase.
Genetic influence on disease risk
The research team also worked to identify the genes that determine the accumulation of visceral fat in a person.
Researchers believe that many of these genes determine behaviors. This includes unhealthy habits such as overeating and lack of physical activity. These behavioral factors are significantly important regarding fat ingestion and accumulation around visceral organs.
Researchers claim that some individuals may not have an excessive amount of fat apparently. However, they still can have excessive visceral fat that can lead to various health risks.
The results of the research are published in the journal of Nature Medicine.
Karlsson concluded that this research may help people to identify their risks for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.