Features February 2008 Issue

Beware of That ‘Spare Tire’— It May Raise Your Heart Risk

Lose weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to avoid the cardiovascular complications of metabolic syndrome.

You may not be overweight, but you may still be at risk for heart disease if you store fat in your midsection, according to experts. Belly fat is called "visceral" fat, and if you have too much of it, it may be a sign of metabolic syndrome, which can be harmful to your cardiovascular system. "If you have fat deposits in your visceral organs, it increases your risk of heart disease," says Leslie Cho, MD, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center and Medical Director of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. "This fat is not an inactive substance. It produces a negative response in the body."

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