Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Stress Raises Belly Fat, Heart Risks

Study Shows Monkeys Under Long-Term Stress Put on Belly Fat, Get Heart Disease

Stress Strips Females of Heart Protection

All of the monkeys in the Shively study were female. One way monkeys are like humans is that females are less likely to get heart disease than males. Yet stressed female monkeys that put on belly fat are at least as likely to get heart disease as are male monkeys.

"So this is a good model for women with heart disease. When women get visceral fat and the metabolic syndrome, that completely abolishes the female protection," Shively says. "Any edge they get for being female is totally gone. And in fact it may even be a worse disease for women than men, because they get complications and die faster when they have heart disease."

Shively and colleagues found that the stressed monkeys had abnormal menstrual cycles. Compared to the unstressed monkeys, they were much less likely to ovulate. This was linked to abdominal fat -- but not to body mass index or other kinds of fat.

"We don't know about ovarian function in women with metabolic syndrome, but probably this is something we should look into," Shively says. "Because the menstrual system protects against osteoporosis and loss of cognitive function. Depressed ovarian function in women is not a good thing."

Bays says he's not surprised by this finding.

"All these things are interconnected," he says. "The central theme is it just shouldn't be a mystery why, if you gain weight, you get metabolic disease."

The Shively study appears in the current issue of the journal Obesity.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure