New research was able to pinpoint the type of heart fat that is linked as a risk factor for heart diseases in menopausal women with regards to estrogen level.
The types of fat surrounding the heart include the following:
- Epicardial fat: This type of fat covers the heart, and is located between the outside of the heart and the pericardium membrane that encases the heart.
- Paracardial fat: This is found outside the pericardium anterior to the epicardial fat, and has no known protective function for the heart.
Led by Assistant Professor Samar R. El Khoudary of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the clinical evaluations involved taking blood samples from478 women aged 51 years old and older who were not on hormone replacement therapy. Participants were from Pittsburgh and Chicago, who enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, according to a news release.
It was found out that a greater portion of paracardial fat after menopause was evident due to the decline in estradiol. The increased epicardial fat, however, was said to be a risk factor related to obesity.
The new study clearly identifies that an increase paracardial fat is not specific to menopause but can also have a negative impact towards the health of women, increasing the risk of triggering coronary artery calcification. A higher presence of epicardial and paracardial fats is evident in postmenopausal women.
Because of this, careful evaluation should be done to be able to determine specific ways on how to help menopausal women avoid heart disease.
What could possibly decrease the heart fat volume is regular exercise, proper diet and by undergoing bariatric surgery. El Khoudary is taking heed in carefully evaluating hormone replacement therapy with regards to its effect on the type of heart fat in the hopes of preventing heart diseases to menopausal and post-menopausal women.