How the male beer-gut may be a red flag for cardiovascular disease and other health problems

New Orleans, VA - Obesity can cause a wide range of cardiovascular disease risks, some of which can be attributed to the various differences in regional body fat distribution among individuals. For example, abdominal obesity is associated with a clustering of several cardiovascular disease risk factors and as such is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. This clustering of risk factors, often referred to as Syndrome X or the Metabolic Syndrome, is more closely associated with abdominal visceral fat than obesity per se.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this year that more than one in five Americans an estimated 47 million persons suffer from obesity, which greatly increases a persons chance for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The characterisits of the Metabolic Syndrome include a large waistline, elevated triglycerides (fats in the blood), low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) commonly referred to as good cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

The cardiovagal baroreflex plays a key role in the beat-to-beat regulation of arterial blood pressure. Previous studies have suggested that cardiovagal baroreflex gain may be reduced in obese humans. Impaired cardiovagal baroreflex gain has been associated with electrical instability of the myocardium and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease-related death. Therefore, the lower cardiovagal baroreflex gain in obese individuals may have important implications for improving our understanding of the changes in cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular disease risk that accompany obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome.

Previous research associated with this issue has relied on observing body mass index (BMI), or waist circumference, which are markers of total body fat and body fat distribution. Therefore, the influence of elevated abdominal fat on cardiovagal baroreflex gain remains unclear. Furthermore, there

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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