Adipose and the Heart

Let’s get technical and explore the relationship between adipose tissue (fat cells) and the heart. The outermost layer of the heart is called the epicardium and contains nerves, blood vessels, mesothelial cells, fat cells and connective tissue. The epicardial fat is derived from the same embryological tissue as visceral (intraabdominal) fat. Increased visceral and epicardial fat both lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
We can measure visceral fat by measuring your abdominal circumference. If the abdominal circumference is increased, then we can assume that there is increased visceral fat inside the abdomen. As such, we can also assume that the epicardial fat is increased, too.
An increase in epicardial fat causes direct and indirect damage to the heart and blood vessels, sometimes irreparably. It can lead to:
• Heart failure (particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction – HFpEF)
• Atherosclerosis (narrowing) of the blood vessels
• Arrythmias such as Atrial Fibrillation which can lead to stroke
• Increase risk of thromboembolic events (DVT and stroke)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Prevention is the best cure when it comes to heart disease. By achieving just 5-10% reduction in body weight, you can significantly decrease your visceral and epicardial fat, which in turn will lead to a reduction in your cardiovascular risk. At MedSurg Weight Loss we focus on metabolic health and provide you with evidence based options for treatment of overweight and obesity. We support you to improve your metabolic health and decrease your risk of heart disease.

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