Obesity and cardiovascular disease: Pathogenetic role of the metabolic syndrome and therapeutic implications

Nicola Abate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Since obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the increasing prevalence and degree of obesity in all developed countries has the potential to significantly offset the current efforts to decrease CVD burden in our population. Obesity is pathogenetically related to several clinical and sub-clinical abnormalities that contribute to the development of atherosclerotic placks and their complication, leading to the onset of cardiovascular events. Obesity seems to interact with inheritable factors in determining the onset of insulin resistance, a metabolic abnormality that is responsible for altered glucose metabolism and predisposition to type 2 diabetes, but that also has a major role in the development of dyslipidemia, hypertension and many other sub-clinical abnormalities that contribute to the atherosclerotic process and onset of cardiovascular events. Inheritable factors seem to modulate the onset of type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and various insulin resistance-related sub-clinical abnormalities, often in a clustering pattern that is commonly referred to as the 'metabolic syndrome'. Inheritable factors also are involved in the onset of CVD in a given population or individuals with various components of the metabolic syndrome. Intense research is currently undergoing to better understand the molecular mechanisms that could explain the relationship between environmental and inheritable factors that lead from obesity to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular event. The elucidation of these mechanisms will provide improved therapeutic strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk in the obese patients. However, effective therapeutic tools that control each of the known pathophysiological steps mediating CVD in obese patients are already available and should be used more aggressively. Patient education and coordinated approach of physicians, nurses and other health care providers in a multidisciplinary treatment of the obese patient is of fundamental importance to reduce CVD burden in our population. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-174
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Diabetes and Its Complications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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