Epicardial Fat vs Pericardial Fat Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The misleading concept of the similarity between epicardial fat and pericardial fat is tedious. Anatomically, the difference between epicardial and pericardial fat is obvious. There are two locations of epicardial fat, one is the external wall of the myocardium and the other is the pericardium layer. 

Now when we talk about the pericardial fat, it is located on the anterior of epicardial fat. The location of the fat is between the visceral and parietal layers. The epicardial fat is much closer to the myocardium and most importantly they both share the same blood supply.

There is an abundance of adipokines in epicardial fat. Pericardial fat, on the other hand, is the opposite. However, the modulation of coronary arteries is pericardial fat. The epicardial and pericardial fat is different from a clinical and anatomical perspective. The thickness of epicardial and pericardial fat varies largely.

Epicardial Fat Vs Pericardial Fat Symptoms

The fat deposit which is found between the pericardium and the heart has quite similar pathophysiological properties and symptoms which resemble other fat deposits. Inflammation is one of the common symptoms of epicardial fat. Coronary atherosclerosis is directly affected by epicardial fat.

The evaluation of epicardial fat is by ECG, CT Scan, and MRI. Several other factors are associated with epicardial fat. These include age, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Due to this reason, the interpretation of epicardial fat is a bit difficult. Symptoms of coronary artery disease may flare up with the visceral fat present.

Now let’s talk about pericardial fat, it is diagnosed incidentally without symptoms mostly. Chest pain is the initial symptom of pericardial fat. Pain radiates from the diaphragm to the neck and upper arm. The pain can last days, months, or even a year. Fever and cough are not the symptoms of pericardial fat or epicardial fat. 

The onset of chest pain is the initial symptom. Patients should consult a doctor to rule out other conditions. Other symptoms might include tachycardia, dyspnea, diaphoresis, and tachypnea. 

Epicardial Fat vs Pericardial Fat Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Epicardial Fat Vs Pericardial Fat Causes

Some factors or causes might increase the thickness and distribution of epicardial fat. Some of them are as follows:

  • Obesity

Obesity or being overweight can cause the excess accumulation of epicardial fat. Weight loss of fat-reducing surgeries can decrease the thickness.

  • Age

As the age increases, the thickness of epicardial fat will increase significantly, specifically if you are 65 years old. The aging process will largely affect the redistribution of fat.

  • Gender

Women are more likely to experience and gain fat over time as compared to men. But several studies state that there is no correlation between gender and epicardial fat. 

  • Ethnicity

Black people are less prone to obesity as compared to white people.

On the other hand, the causes of pericardial fat might resemble epicardial fat. Trauma, overweight, and increased thoracic pressure are few other causes that might differentiate pericardial fat from epicardial fat. To find the cause, a series of radiological tests are performed to confirm.

Epicardial Fat Vs Pericardial Fat Treatment

There are several treatment strategies to manage the symptoms of epicardial and pericardial fat. Weight management is one of them. It is important to cut down the excess weight and lose a few pounds. The severity of the symptoms decreases when the weight reduces. 

Patients need to develop a habit of exercise. Workout therapy is the most effective treatment in the case of epicardial or pericardial fat. Calorie intake should be reduced to a significant level. Various diets like intermittent fasting can help to shed off the extra weight.

Moreover, intake of a balanced diet is important. It is vital to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in the normal range, especially if these health conditions run in your family. Keeping normal levels can help to mitigate the symptoms related to coronary artery disease. This can eventually help to reduce the fat as well.

The first-line pharmacological treatment would be the use of aspirin or NSAIDs. Around 30% of patients don’t respond to this therapy. Alternate medications can help reduce inflammation or pain. Sometimes, patients ignore the symptoms altogether and don’t bother. But whether it is epicardial or pericardial fat, if it is not treated timely it can lead to serious health consequences.

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