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Jun 16, 2011

What is "sick fat"?

Excess fat can cause abnormalities, leading to heart disease.

Lately, obesity has become quite a hot topic nationwide. It is estimated that over 25% of adults and children in the U.S. are obese, and unfortunately, these rates are expected to rise in coming years. While many of us are aware of this trend, it is important to understand the effects of overweight and obesity on the human body.

Overweight and obesity are terms used to describe individuals whose weight is significantly higher than what is considered healthy. Along with this weight comes excess fat, which accumulates in the body and can have serious adverse effects on health. While fat, also known as adipose tissue, is crucial to the human body for storing energy and creating insulation, storing excess fat is extremely unhealthy.

Adiposity is a term used to describe excess fat tissue in the body. Over time, this fat tissue can become enlarged and turn into “sick fat,” resulting in abnormalities that can lead to metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. This type of “sick fat” is referred to as adiposopathy, which is considered to be a form of heart disease by many doctors.

While more needs to be learned about identifying “sick fat” in patients, the good news is that the effects of adiposopathy can be reduced and even reversed over time. By losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise, “sick fat” can actually become healthy again, and abnormalities caused by “sick fat,” such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can be reduced and even eliminated. 

Questions for You to Consider

  • Is adiposopathy considered heart disease or a risk factor for heart disease?

  • Adiposopathy is now considered a form of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, overweight patients without any major risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are still considered to have heart disease if they have “sick fat.”
  • How can I prevent the development of "sick fat"?

  • You can help prevent adiposopathy or "sick fat" by maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise. Those who are overweight can lose weight to prevent or minimize “sick fat” in the body.

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