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Lifestyle/Nutrition

Las Vegas Upper Stomach AirSculpt®

Is Visceral Fat Dangerous, and Can Liposuction Remove It?

woman grabbing belly fat

Having some body fat is healthy, but not all fat is created equal. Visceral fat is the body fat within the abdominal cavity, which protects several organs such as the liver, stomach, and intestines.

Visceral fat is also called active fat because it can increase the risk of several health problems. If you have some belly fat, it's not necessarily visceral, as it can also be subcutaneous fat, the fatty tissue just under the skin.

Subcutaneous fat is associated with aesthetic issues, while visceral fat is found within the abdominal cavity and isn't as apparent. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which lies just beneath the skin, visceral fat poses significant health risks due to its proximity to internal organs.

Understanding the risks of visceral fat is crucial for adopting preventive measures and maintaining overall health.

An Introduction to Visceral Fat

Belly fat is not just about looks; it can lead to health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Abdominal fat is only found near and around the stomach and is much harder in texture. For example, if you have a rock-hard beer belly, this would likely be made up of visceral fat. By contrast, subcutaneous fat can be found throughout the body and is softer (or fluffier) to feel.

The Dangers of Visceral Fat

Is visceral fat dangerous? Intra-abdominal fat can cause health problems by increasing your insulin resistance, even if you have never been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.

People with high levels of visceral fat indices tend to have high blood pressure. It can also be linked to the development of several serious and life-threatening medical conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

This type of fat actively secretes hormones and inflammatory substances. It can disrupt metabolic processes and promote insulin resistance, swelling, and other issues.

Causes of Belly Fat

Several factors contribute to visceral fat accumulation, including a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, genetics, and stress. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can lead to belly fat forming, as can a lack of physical activity and chronic stress.

The Role of Hormones 

Hormones play a large role in regulating fat storage and metabolism, with insulin and cortisol being particularly influential. Insulin resistance promotes visceral fat forming, while elevated cortisol levels, often associated with chronic stress, can also contribute to abdominal obesity.

Importance of Sleep 

Poor sleep quality and quantity have been linked to increased visceral fat. Getting enough sleep, sticking to a consistent bedtime, and having a calming bedtime routine is vital. These habits can help reduce belly fat and keep you healthy. Getting sufficient sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being.

Effects of Age 

As people age, their hormones and metabolism change, causing more fat to gather around the belly area. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress management are crucial for preventing belly fat in older adults.

Risks of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to visceral fat accumulation, particularly in heavy drinkers. Alcohol contains empty calories and can disrupt metabolic processes, leading to increased fat storage, especially in the abdominal area. Moderation is key when consuming alcohol to minimize its impact on visceral fat levels.

Psychological Effects of Visceral Fat

The presence of excess visceral fat can negatively impact body image and self-esteem, leading to psychological distress and increased risk of depression and anxiety. Addressing body image concerns through self-care practices, positive self-talk, and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals is crucial for maintaining emotional well-being.

How "Hard" Fat is Diagnosed

A CT or MRI scan is the only way to diagnose "hard" fat definitively, but we understand this can be expensive and time-consuming.

Healthcare providers use general guidelines to evaluate your visceral fat and the health risks it could have on your body.

Research demonstrates that about 10 percent of all body fat is visceral fat. Therefore, you can estimate your levels with simple calculations. A smart scale is another great way to get a gauge of the amount of visceral fat.

How To Measure Visceral Fat

Measuring visceral fat is essential for assessing health risks and monitoring progress in fat loss efforts. Techniques such as waist circumference measurement, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and imaging techniques like MRI and CT scans can accurately estimate visceral fat levels.

One way to roughly tell if this type of fat is at risky levels is with a waist-to-hip ratio:

  1. When standing up straight, measure the smallest part of your waist.

  2. Find and measure the widest part of your hips or buttocks.

  3. Divide the measurement from (1) by (2), giving you a waist-to-hip ratio. 

If you have a waist-to-hip ratio above .85 (for women) or .90 (for men), that indicates abdominal obesity.

Reducing Visceral Fat

Reducing visceral fat requires a multi-step approach involving dietary changes, regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep. Eating healthy, exercising, reducing stress with meditation and yoga, and getting good sleep can improve your health.

Lifestyle Changes

Healthy lifestyle habits are essential for long-term visceral fat reduction and overall health improvement. Regular diet and exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep can lead to weight loss and reduced visceral fat levels.

Dietary Recommendations

A diet focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods reduces visceral fat. Eating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats while avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat snacks can support fat loss.

Exercise Tips for Targeting Visceral Fat

Combining aerobic, strength, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) reduces visceral fat. Cardio exercises such as walking, running, cycling, and swimming help burn calories and promote fat loss. Strength training builds lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism.

Can Liposuction Remove Visceral Fat?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that targets fat in specific regions, including the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms, and neck. During lipo, a thin tube called a cannula is inserted through tiny incisions in the skin, and fat is removed using a vacuum device.

While effective in removing subcutaneous fat, liposuctioning visceral fat is not possible. Visceral fat surrounds internal organs and is not easily accessible through traditional liposuction techniques. Applying fat removal tools near your vital organs is far too risky; thus, lipo only targets fat deposits just beneath the skin.

Suppose your issue is subcutaneous fat on your upper abdomen or anywhere around your belly. In that case, Upper Stomach AirSculpt® is the optimal solution for Las Vegas patients who want significant results without depending on invasive surgical techniques.

While no cosmetic treatment can target visceral fat, AirSculpt patients enjoy such quick results and reduced downtime that they frequently feel motivated to adopt healthier lifestyles. Evidently, seeing one's dream body sculpted without invasive techniques inspires newfound habit adoption.

Residents in and around the Desert Southwest can call our Las Vegas body sculpting office for their free consultation to start working with us. Otherwise, find the body contouring office nearest you to kick-start your fat-loss journey. 

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