The omentum as fatty tissue that insulates the abdominal organs

The omentum is a membranous double layer of fatty tissue that covers and supports the intestines and organs in the lower abdominal area. The omentum is made up of the greater omentum which is an important storage for fat deposits and the lesser omentum which connects the stomach and intestines to the liver.

Milky spots on the greater omentum contain white blood cells that assist immunity by removing cellular debris.

Visceral fat and related health risks

Fat deposited in the omentum makes up a part of the visceral fat; the rest of the visceral fat is deeply embedded between organs. Excess visceral fat deposits in the abdominal area give rise to central obesity. A body with a protruding belly is termed "apple shaped". It is distinct from a "pear shaped" body in which the fat is deposited around the hips and thighs and is subcutaneous fat. An apple shaped body is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, disorders that can lead to metabolic disturbances and increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes. Complications include kidney and liver disease.

Visceral fat as an endocrine like organ

Abdominal fat cells can be treated as active endocrine organs that produce hormones. An excess of abdominal fat disrupts the functioning of the hormones. The fat cells release chemicals such as cytokines and interleukin-6 that add to the risk of heart diseases. They also have a harmful effect on blood pressure and the blood's clotting ability. High amount of visceral fat in the body leads to increased LDL or bad cholesterol and a decrease in HDL or good cholesterol. It also results in insulin resistance whereby blood glucose levels rise. This can lead to diabetes.

Risk factors for visceral fat and Syndrome X

Diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and hormonal changes contribute to fat accumulation in the abdominal region. Tests to establish syndrome X include measuring blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Health benefits of the reduction of abdominal fat

Weight reduction is the ultimate objective of any treatment procedure adopted to tackle metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle changes, medicine, and surgery are the treatment options available in order to reduce weight so that the risk of heart disease and diabetes can be brought down.

Anatomical Structure: 
Omentum
Speciality Classification: 
Surgical
Medical Entity Classification: 
MedicalCode
MeSH Identifier: 
A01.923.047.025.600.573
National Library of Medicine: 
MeSH
Medical Audience: 
Patient