What is visceral fat?

Visceral fat is found in your abdominal cavity and wraps around your internal organs.

It’s harmful because fat cells do more than simply store excess energy. They also produce hormones and inflammatory substances. Visceral fat cells are especially active and produce even more inflammatory markers. Over time, these hormones can promote long-lasting inflammation and increase the risk of chronic disease.

One example of this is heart disease. Long-lasting inflammation may cause plaque to form inside the arteries, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Plaque is a combination of cholesterol and other substances. It grows larger over time and can eventually rupture. When this happens, the blood in the arteries clots and either partially or completely block blood flow. In the coronary arteries, a clot can deprive the heart of oxygen and cause a heart attack.