Dr. Travis’ Anatomy Lab
Visceral fat buildup in the body can severely affect the function of major organs, such as the heart and liver. As fat piles on over time, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other weight-related complications.
"The way the fat affects your internal organs and the things you can't see is what I want to show everyone right now," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "[It's] fat that you don't need, and this is where all those reactions begin -- the pro-inflammatory process that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and so many other ailments. And if you think you're immune from this because you're too young, think again."
“Oftentimes, as we go through life, we don’t think about the consequences of our actions,” Dr. Travis says. “We don’t think about [how this] food is going to affect my health 10 or 20 years from now."
Dr. Travis goes inside the human body with BodyViz, a state-of-the-art virtual technology that illustrates how visceral belly fat accumulates inside the abdomen, which smothers organs and can cause dangerous calcium deposits to form in the heart.
The Importance of Everyday Choices
Breakfast or no breakfast? Stairs or elevator? Sit or stand? Simple choices throughout your daily life can be a determining factor in your long-term health and longevity.
Debbie, 45, is a busy mom who is unhappy with her waistline and overall health. She knows her health should be more of a priority but can never find the time to do so. Debbie joins The Doctors and Dr. Travis gives her tips on how she can make more time and energy during her daily life.
“You burn three times as many calories walking up stairs as you do just walking on a flat surface," Dr. Travis explains. "Walking 30 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by three years. [Even] flossing your teeth can add six years to your life.
"The choices you make now could prevent your own visit to the ER someday” Dr. Travis says.
How Stress Causes Belly Fat
Christy, 41, is a stressed-out mother of 5-year-old triplets. In addition to the pressures of parenthood, Christy typically works 60-hour weeks and feels there is never enough time to focus on her health. Recently, she has been gaining excess weight, and feels that stress could a contributing factor.
“It’s emails and phone calls, non-stop,” Christy explains. “When I walk in the door, I don’t even get a chance to put my stuff down before the kids are crawling all over me.
“Looking at myself in the mirror, it’s not pleasant,” Christy says. “I am self-conscious of my arms, my stomach and my back fat. It’s gotten out of control, [and] I feel it all over.”
Christy visits compounding pharmacist Dr. Mark Gonzalez, who works primarily with hormone treatments to customize prescription medications for patients on an individual basis.
“When patients potentially have high cortisol levels, there [are] a few symptoms that they can experience,” Dr. Gonzalez explains. “The very first one is, typically, central weight gain. The second symptom can be [an] inability to lose some of that weight. That's why it's so important to use a test kit like this to measure those levels, so we can identify the problem.”
Christy and Dr. Gonzalez join The Doctors to explain how the cortisol stress test is evaluated and reveal the results of Christy’s saliva test.
“Take breaks throughout the day," Dr. Travis says. "[Take] ten-minute walks. Even if [it's just] taking a brief moment to look outside. Breaking that cycle of stress is one of the most essential things you can do."
Ask Dr. Travis