Could your muffin top turn lethal? A new study has found a significant link between belly fat and sudden cardiac death.

Unlike a heart attack, which happens when blood can no longer circulate to the heart, cardiac death occurs as the result of an electrical malfunction that makes the heart beat irregularly. It's responsible for about half of all cardiac-related deaths. And researchers have found that those with higher amounts of belly fat are more prone to suffering from this condition.

For the study, researchers followed 14,941 men and women for nearly 13 years. The participants had an average age of about 54 at the start of the study. Researchers gave each subject an in-depth health examination five times over the course of the study. And their results concluded that those with the highest waist-to-hip ratio were twice as likely to experience sudden cardiac death than those with measurements in the normal range.

As you might expect, the 253 subjects in the study who had sudden cardiac death also had higher rates of other cardiac risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol. But even after controlling for these factors, researchers noted that the increased risk was greatest for those with the most belly fat.

For some people, weight gain gets spread out all around the body. But for those prone to belly fat — like me — those extra pounds land right around the midsection. And studies have shown that this is the most dangerous type of weight to gain

“We’re not sure what’s mediating it,” said the lead author, Selcuk Adabag, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. “But abdominal obesity is much more inflammatory, much worse than general obesity.”

Source: The New York Times

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