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Dr. Matthew DeVane

Dr. Matthew DeVane

Cardiologist and researcher

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Forget Belly Fat, Watch Your Heart Fat

Forget Belly Fat, Watch Your Heart Fat

We spend so much time worrying about our weight on the outside, whether it’s for health reasons or aesthetic ones, that we rarely stop to think about any fat on the inside. While it’s true that being overweight and/or obese can increase your risk for heart disease, the fat that’s around your heart actually has a bigger impact on your chances of developing heart disease.

Most experts consider pericardial fat to be a normal part of the aging process and it can accumulate with little notice. The problem with pericardial fat is that it secretes high levels of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, which can inflame the arteries and create plaque. Plaque buildup is one of the main factors of heart disease.

In a North Carolina study of people without a history of heart disease, those with the highest levels of pericardial fat were five times more likely to have high levels of plaque in their arteries. Researchers suspect that the high exposure to cytokines makes plaque build up faster in the arteries. Even a thin person can have pericardial fat.

Learn more with our 30 days of tips on managing heart disease, preventing and reversing it.  [Health News]

Posted: 8/5/08