Washington: Scientists have unearthed more evidence to show that fatty deposits around the heart, more than the warped body mass index (BMI), promote thickening of arteries.
The BMI is height to weight ratio. If the ratio is skewed, it indicates the possibility of cardiac disease or obesity.
Plaque or fatty deposits cause thickening of the artery wall on one side. The lopsided thickening is referred to as plaque eccentricity and strongly indicates heart disease.
This is the first study to link pericardial fat (embedded in grooves on heart surface) with the prevalence of coronary plaque in symptom-less individuals, reports journal Radiology.
"Pericardial fat is located behind the sternum, around the heart, and we cannot see it except with CT or MRI," said study author Bluemke, David A. Bluemke, director of radiology and imaging sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Care.
"Individuals in this study had no symptoms and were otherwise healthy," said Bluemke, according to an NIH statement.
"They did not have significant coronary artery narrowing. Yet, despite this, they had coronary plaque that could be detected by MRI," he added.
"The findings indicate yet another reason that obesity is bad for us," Bluemke said. "It is particularly bad when the fat forms around the heart, since the heart fat appears to further promote coronary artery plaque."