Is Your Belly Fat Making You Sick?

Have you ever struggled to get rid of unwanted tummy fat? If you’ve lost all motivation to continue your ab workouts, you might be interested in learning more about the long-term effects of too much “extra” belly weight.

While weight gain and a higher-than-average BMI don’t necessarily mean you’re unhealthy, there are benefits to making healthy changes before health becomes a concern.

Here’s how your belly fat is secretly affecting you.

Your heart

Doctor drawing ecg heartbeat chart

Doctor drawing ecg heartbeat chart | iStock.com/BrianAJackson

You may have heard that eating too much salt and sugar hurts your heart. But what about these things actually makes you sick? Often times — but not always — it has to do with body fat and where it’s stored.

Carrying around excess belly fat increases your likelihood of developing high cholesterol and blood pressure. Both of these metrics are significant risk factors for heart disease. Your chances of having a heart attack or stroke are higher when fat around the midsection lingers.

Your liver

When you think about liver disease, you probably associate it with alcohol. Excessive alcohol intake often causes liver damage — but it’s not the only habit that can have this devastating effect. Poor diet can also cause serious harm over time.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when the body stores too much fat in your liver. It affects people who drink small amounts of alcohol — or none at all. In its most severe form, this disease can cause damage similar to the effects of heavy alcohol use, and can even result in liver failure.

Your blood sugar

Blood sugar

Blood sugar | iStock.com/BernardaSv

Excess belly fat also increases your risk of developing insulin resistance. Irregular blood sugar levels don’t always lead to type 2 diabetes, but they will if your body can’t get a handle on things on its own.

Insulin resistance is, in many cases, one step below type 2 diabetes. Your body’s ability to keep your blood sugar levels in a safe range depends on your cells’ response to insulin. When they become resistant to the chemical, sugar can start to “hang out” in your blood. And that’s not good.

Your cancer risk

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases you can get. While some forms are more aggressive than others, there’s no guarantee it won’t come back even if doctors do rid your body of cancer cells. One way to decrease your disease risk is to take steps toward better managing your weight.

Obesity significantly increases your chances of developing cancer. This doesn’t mean all people with a body mass index in the “obese” range will develop cancer, or are even considered unhealthy. But research has found that nearly half of all cancer diagnoses in the United States are linked to weight gain, making it hard to define it as a mere coincidence.

It’s not easy making the changes necessary to decrease your risk of dangerous diseases. But taking things one step at a time is better than not taking any steps at all. It’s OK not to mind that tummy fluff. But you don’t have to live with it if you don’t want to.

Ready to burn off your belly fat for good? Do it fast.

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