How a DEXA SCAN Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Visceral fat is fat that wraps around your abdominal organs deep inside your body. You can’t always feel it or see it. What causes visceral fat? Fat is stored in the body when you over consume calories and don’t get enough physical activity. Where you store fat in your body depends on your genes, age, and even gender.
The presence of visceral fat raises your risk for serious medical issues such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol. A high level of visceral fat may also increase your risk for developing breast cancer.
Visceral Fat and Breast Cancer: How Are They Related?
Statistics show that more than 1 in 4 women (27.5%) are overweight in the U.S. Women who are overweight have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the chance of recurrence in those who have been previously diagnosed with the disease. This higher risk is due to the estrogen produced in fat cells. Extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body, which can lead to the development of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.
Studies have found that women with more visceral fat were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, especially if they were postmenopausal. Visceral fat is related to insulin resistance and may be more likely to promote hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. This risk can be present even in women with a low BMI, as being thin does not rule out the existence of visceral fat in the body. Rather, having an idea of your overall percentage of body fat will be a better indication of your breast cancer risk.
DEXA Scans For Visceral Fat
The best way to discover the presence of visceral fat in the body is with a DEXA scan. DEXA scans are the most accurate way to determine your body fat percentage. The scan will also reveal if you have a harmful level of visceral fat around your abdominal organs. Having a baseline measurement of your body fat will help you determine and mitigate your risk for breast cancer.
How Can I Reduce Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat can be combated through weight management with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Note that cosmetic procedures like liposuction do not work to remove visceral fat. Aside from diet and exercise, other ways to reduce visceral fat are by not smoking, reducing sugar intake, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. Reducing your levels of visceral fat and retaining a healthy weight will help lower your risk of breast cancer.
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