New research results published in the journal Heart shows that obesity itself increases the risk of heart disease, regardless of whether or not other risk factors are present. Adipose tissue is the fatty tissue we all build up as we gain weight, and it is this tissue itself which releases inflammatory substances into the body.
Health experts previously thought that that obesity puts people at greater risk of heart disease solely due to stress on the body raising the likelihood of the development of recognised risk factors, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.
The study suggests that fatty tissue in overweight people produces a substance that causes inflammation in their bodies. This has now been shown to play a significant role, increasing deaths from heart disease, in addition to the other established risk factors previously known to be a problem.
Glasgow University’s BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre has made this important discovery with the help of more than 6,000 men who took part in the study.
Cathy Ross, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘We’ve known for some time that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease. But this study now strengthens the argument that obesity – in its own right – increases the risk of dying from a heart attack, irrespective of other risk factors.”
Adipose tissue is poorly understood as an organ and its role in connection with fatal cardiac events is not well known. The area of adipose tissue vascular research is only in its infancy with one of the first major studies conducted only 55 years ago. Adipose tissue is found in specific locations, which are referred to as ‘adipose depots’.
All of us possess adipose tissue, it is just the amount that increases for those that are fat. It is an important biological energy source, for all of us, because the fat it contains yields, during exercise and in daily living, more energy per unit weight than either carbohydrate or protein. Thus, not as much adipose tissue needs to be laid down by the body to produce as much energy as the other two materials.
Adipose tissue is thought of as a major endocrine organ. Advanced knowledge on this endocrine activity under normal and pathological conditions is as a result of this research more clearly going to be of key importance for developing new strategies to combat major metabolic diseases including obesity.
It has other important uses as it acts as an insulator to help maintain our body temperature and provides as a protective padding to otherwise vulnerable areas of our bodies. Adipose tissue is primarily located beneath the skin, but is also present around internal organs, and builds up in those that become severely overweight. In the skin, it is present in the subcutaneous layer. That’s good for providing insulation from heat and cold so nobody suggests you diet to lose weight to become excessively thin.
Obesity is seen as the great curse of the 21st century. Recent data has been published which points to the being more than a billion people in the world who suffer from being overweight, and an approximate 300 million of those are likely to be clinically obese