The number of cases of diabetes is steadily increasing over the past years. This has been directly linked to obesity. An interesting fact the direct link between diabetes belly fat. Although many obese people may have increased belly fat, there are those who are not obese yet have belly fat.
About half of the people living with diabetes do not even know that they have diabetes. This is so worrisome when one thinks of the effects that this disease does the human body.
What is belly fat
Belly fat simply means excess fat around the organs of your stomach. It is also known as visceral fat or intra-abdominal fat (it is found around organs like the liver, intestines and other organs). It is considered to be the most dangerous type of fat. Unlike fat found on the hips and thighs, fat around the body’s organs can pose a lot of serious health risks. It should be distinguished from other types of body fats like subcutaneous fats and triglycerides.
Belly fat is determined by measuring what is called waist circumference. This is typically at the natural waist, around the level of the umbilicus (belly button). Take a measuring tape and just wrap it around your waist area. The tape should not be too tight or too loose. Measure the waist just after you breathe out. Waist circumference of >94 cm in men and >80 cm in women is associated with increased risk of health related complications and the risk increases with a waist circumference of >102cm in men and > 88 cm in women.
How is belly fat linked to Diabetes
One of the dangers that belly fat poses is its link to type 2 diabetes in particular. When you have increased belly fat, you are more prone to having insulin resistance, which usually leads to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.
A certain protein that is released by the visceral fat has been shown to increase this resistance to insulin. When the body becomes resistance to insulin, more and more glucose build up in the blood resulting in hyperglycemia which in turn results in diabetes mellitus. Insulin resistance and belly fat are thought to account for the twofold increase incidences of type 2 diabetes.
Other diseases linked to belly fat
Belly fat is liked to other diseases like cardiovascular diseases and colo-rectal cancer.
People with increased belly fat are thought to have more than doubled the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. This risk is even more increased when other risk factors such as high blood pressure, are present.
Some cancers are also linked with increase visceral fat. These cancers include breast cancer and colo-rectal cancer.
How to get rid of belly fat
There are many factors associated with increased belly fat. Some factors are modifiable and some are not. Examples of non-modifiable factors are genetics, gender and age. You can’t change your genes, your sexual orientation or your age but you can sure do something about the other factors that are modifiable.
Diet is an important aspect in keeping belly fat off and maintaining a healthy body weight. It is recommended that you follow a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, high fiber, and high lean protein. Reduce you intake of processed foods, added sugars and reduce trans-fats. Get into the habit of reading ingredient labels to stay away from products that may not be good for your body.
Drink in moderation
Too much alcohol has been strongly linked to belly fat. It promotes your appetite as well as adding more calories. It is more importantly linked to fat re-distribution in the body.
Exercise helps us lose body fat and gain muscle. This in turn helps us lose belly fat. 30 minutes of moderate activity (for example brisk walking) for 5 days in a week is quite beneficial if done consistently. Maintaining exercise also helps prevent belly fat from coming back.
Smoking does not only increase your fat stores but is also puts at risk of many other diseases.
Too much rest is not good but too little can be harmful too
Too much stress has been linked to high levels of the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases your appetite with resultant buildup of fat especially on the belly. Engaging in relaxing, or pleasurable activities can help reduce your belly fat.
Your health Matters
In conclusion, I just want to say, your health matters a lot. There is a saying that goes- My health is my wealth. This is indeed true. With the current significant rise in type 2 diabetes, it is very critical to have some knowledge on this topic. Knowledge is important but action is even better. Take care for your health like you would for important things in your life. It is indeed your wealth. Without a health well taken care of body, quality of life is greatly compromised. All the best as you take a step in improving your health for the better.
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