Adipose tissue is composed of living cells capable of Storing fats. Conversations in a health conscience environment are centered on the cause of obesity. Overweight individuals contain an excessive amount of fat in the body. Fat is not simply a solid white oily material that builds up in various areas just underneath the skin. Fat is a lipid material called triglycerides stored inside individual cells composed of a functional tissue called adipose tissue. Fat storage has several important purposes in the human body and other mammals. Subcutaneous fat lines the body underneath the skin and provides padding and insulation. Animals living in cold regions typically have a thick layer of fat to protect against extreme cold temperature. People have less need to guard against heat loss. However, fat also pads and protects internal organs.
Adipose tissue is composed of living cells like any tissue found in the body. The structure of each cell, called adipocyte, includes the basic components of any cell including a nucleus and the mechanisms to reproduce. Adipocytes can produce new cells in response to the needs for fat storage. Once new fat cells are produced, they become permanent. People that lose a considerable amount of weight typically retain lose baggy skin. The total number of adipose cells is still present even when the amount of stored fat is greatly reduced. The cells are simply smaller.
Fat cells are very dynamic. Stored fat is constantly moving into the blood stream for energy and replaced by new fat materials. Because the structure of the cell forms a network of elastic connective tissue, each cell can expand providing 80 percent of the volume for storing fat. They are living cells that require oxygen and nutrients from the blood and must be in contact with small capillaries. Therefore, obesity is often linked to additional medical conditions including high blood pressure. The heart works harder to pump blood through the entire structure of adipose tissue.
The human body stores two forms of adipose tissue identified by color. White adipose has the characteristic appearance of animal fat and makes up the majority found in the body. It is generally located underneath the skin and around most internal organs. Brown adipose has a larger supply of blood vessels giving a darker appearance. It is found surrounding important organs such as the brain. Read the rest of this entry »