Lege Artis Medicinae



NOVEMBER 19, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(11)

[Obesity affects a significant proportion of the population in Western countries. Metabolic changes that are associated with obesity lead to metabolic syndrome, a significant risk factor of cardiovascular mortality. Body mass index, which is used to describe the extent of obesity, is not suitable on its own to predict cardiovascular risk or assess metabolic changes, because it doesn't provide information on the distribution of accumulated fat within the body. Several studies have shown that it is the central/abdominal/visceral type of obesity that significantly increases cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Visceral and subcutaneous fat tissue differ both in their function and the biological effects of adipocytokines secreted by them. Apart from the known effects of free fatty acids on insulin resistance and consequently to other metabolic parameters, adipocyte-derived adipokines have been shown to have a beneficial, antiatherosclerotic effect. In order to precisely estimate the obesity-related cardiovascular risk in everyday practice, not only body mass index, but waist circumference, a marker of visceral obesity, should also be measured.]



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