A little bit of belly fat could have drastically changed my medical prognosis and prevented a problem that will now affect me for the rest of my life. While being obese or overweight can be detrimental to your health, a tiny bit of belly fat can save your life. I know, it goes against everything you’ve heard, right? Well keep reading and find out when you’ll need to pack on a pound or two.
Abdominal Radiation: If you have no belly fat, there is nothing to diffuse the radiation when you go through cancer treatments. I went through this experience myself during treatment for colon cancer. Doctors generally will not tell you about this. No one warned me until after the damage was done.
If you need abdominal radiation for ovarian, uterine, colon, prostate, or any kind of cancer and you are petite, lacking any belly fat to speak of; then beware of radiation enteritis. It can kill you. I was put on hospice and not expected to live after radiation obliterated my small intestine. I have always been very petite, naturally, being 5’11 and weighing in at around 130 pounds. A little bit of belly fat would have better protected my small intestine from damage. I cannot stress enough; before beginning abdominal radiation, try to put on a few pounds around your abdomen.
Cancer: On top of being nauseous, there are many reasons that a cancer patient isn’t allowed to eat. I, personally went through a six month period of being NPO, which means nothing by mouth. It takes a long time to starve to death, even if you’re skinny, but the more fat you have before cancer treatments, the more reserves you have for the body to use.
Because I was lacking body fat, my body atrophied. This is when the body begins to basically eat it’s own muscle to sustain life. I went from 130 pounds to 89 pounds within months. Some reasons a cancer patient cannot eat might be, abnormal throwing up, inability to swallow, intestinal blockage, choking when trying to swallow, or a lack of appetite, although there are many more. A little belly fat to begin with can drastically improve your chances of survival.
Cat Scan; Did you know that your radiologist can give you a more accurate reading when you have a little bit of belly fat? It’s true. If you’re really small and have almost no belly fat, the organs appear mushed together and are difficult to differentiate. In worst case scenarios, things can be missed because they are difficult or even impossible to see. Things like a tumor. A little belly fat could save your life if you got an early diagnosis.
I had a large tumor that could not be seen on a Cat Scan because of a lack of belly fat. All of my organs were compacted together. Even now, it is difficult for a radiologist to read my scans and that is with the contrast.
Feeding Tube: If you’re ever in need of an abdominal feeding tube that bypasses the stomach, to sustain life, you will want a little bit of belly fat. When you are very thin or become emaciated, it can become impossible for doctors to get a feeding tube into the abdomen. This also happened to me during my ordeal with radiation enteritis. I couldn’t eat, had trouble absorbing any nutrients, and had to get a feeding tube that went directly into my small intestine. The problem became severe when the doctors could not get a feeding tube in because I was so thin. A little belly fat could save your life in this instance.