A high level of fat in the heart region is a strong indicator of coronary disease, according to a new study likely to be of interest to some of those employing assisted living.
Findings reported in the journal Radiology have revealed that pericardial fat is more strongly associated with coronary artery fat than either body mass index of waist circumference.
Authors of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis explained that when plaque is formed in the arteries, deposits are distributed unevenly, resulting in the thickening of the artery wall on one side but not the other.
The ratio of the thick side to the thin side is known as plaque eccentricity and was seen to be an indicator of heart disease.
Senior author David A Bluemke explained: "Pericardial fat is located behind the sternum, around the heart, and we cannot see it except with CT or MRI.
"In some people, extra fat forms preferentially in this area. We do not know why. However, extra fat around the heart is generally associated with being overweight or obese."
Obesity is a known health risk, and a study published in the journal Stroke indicates that obese individuals could be at a higher risk of dementia.
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