KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chances are if you need to lose weight you can figure that out by looking in a mirror. Or can you?
A new body scan x-ray at St Luke's Cardio Wellness Center can reveal a dangerous type of fat that hides deep in your abdomen, a type of fat that experts say can lead to deadly diseases.
Linda Andre just needs to relax on a table and let the x-ray do its job, and within a couple of minutes she'll have an idea how much of the "bad fat" she has in her body.
Andre has a history of heart disease in her family so she takes diet and exercise seriously to reduce her risk. Her BMI and weight are good but she's still not sure what the body composition scan will show.
"I was very conscious when I had my dinner, is this going to add to what I see tomorrow?" she joked.
Andre says the scan could be good incentive to improve her exercise and eating habits.
"That's my biggest problem, not following through and doing it as frequently as I should and making it a daily habit," she said.
When she gets her results, nurse Becky Captain is concerned about some areas of yellow in Andre's abdomen. The yellow areas are the "visceral fat," which experts say isn't just harmless.
"When you have high visceral fat you're at increased risk for diabetes, autoimmune disease, arthritis, asthma," Captain said. "And it's really lethal."
Captain says you can't see visceral fat just looking in the mirror.
"We have thin people who have come to do this and their visceral fat count is high because they don't eat healthy," she said. "They fool you because you think they're thinm they must be healthy, but that's not necessarily so."
Captain says in Andre's case, the scan shows she needs to re-focus on eating right. Captain says that's the good thing about visceral fat -- it can go away with just healthy eating habits and exercise.
"When you look at your plate you should see a lean protein and fruits and vegetables," Captain says.
For Andre, seeing is believing.
"It allows you to be more proactive and take care of yourself and ward off future problems," she said.
Some doctors have raised concerns about tests like this, that it exposes people unnecessarily to radiation. But Captain says it's an incredibly low dose and she says it's very safe.
The test is usually not covered by insurance, it costs fifty dollars. For more information call the St Luke's Cardio Wellness Center at 816-751-8327