Severe obesity is increasingly common in the United States. Very obese persons are at increased risk for the metabolic consequences of obesity. A common multidimensional risk condition associated with obesity is the metabolic syndrome. It is accompanied by increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Clinical manifestations of the metabolic syndrome can vary among obese individuals depending on ethnicity and gender. This study was carried out to determine the pattern of metabolic risk factors in very obese women who were considered candidates for bariatric surgery. Twenty-eight women of this type were compared to 28 nonobese women. Among the former, 11 had categorical hyperglycemia (type 2 diabetes), and 26 had metabolic syndrome by current criteria. Both those with and without diabetes had higher triglycerides and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels than nonobese, but their levels were not categorically abnormal. These changes may have been related to observed lower postheparin lipoprotein lipase activities and higher hepatic lipase activities. In spite of lipid changes, apolipoprotein B levels were only marginally higher in very obese women. In contrast to small changes in lipoprotein metabolism, the obese women were severely insulin resistant, as indicated by hyperglycemia and elevated insulin levels. In addition, they had very high C-reactive protein levels. Thus, the metabolic syndrome, which appears to be typical of very obese women, is characterized by insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and a proinflammatory state. Atherogenic dyslipidemia as a metabolic risk factor in contrast is relatively mild. This pattern is more likely to lead to type 2 diabetes prior to development of clinically evident cardiovascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism