Treatment Team Lowers Heart Risk for Obese Patients

Battling the 'metabolic syndrome' on multiple fronts works, they say

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FRIDAY, April 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- In just six months, a multi-pronged approach to treating obese patients with dangerous metabolic syndrome reduced their 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease by nearly 20 percent, researchers report.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of unhealthy factors, including hypertension, cholesterol abnormalities, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women, and hyperglycemia. Studies have shown that people with metabolic syndrome have a 1.5 times increased risk for coronary heart disease.

"This study highlights the benefits of a clinic that specializes in the needs of obese patients with metabolic syndrome," study author Dr. Safak Guven, an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and clinical director of the Obesity/Metabolic Syndrome Clinic at Froedtert Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

His team tracked the six-month outcomes of 46 obese patients with metabolic syndrome. After treatment, the patients' collective body-mass index (BMI) had dropped by 4.4 percent, their waist size declined 4.3 percent, their blood levels of triglycerides (harmful fatty acids) decreased 13.1 percent, and their levels of "good" HDL cholesterol rose by 6.2 percent. Their 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease was reduced by 19.5 percent.

The treatment team included an endocrinologist, dietitians, a psychologist, diabetes educators, a clinical pharmacist, exercise physiologists and physical therapists. The patients also had access to bariatric surgery, a sleep center and an obstetrics and gynecology fertility clinic for evaluations when appropriate. They were also eligible to take part in a support group.

The findings were presented Friday at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists annual meeting, in Chicago.

Guven said the study could help establish national clinical standards for care of patients with metabolic syndrome, which affects about 24 percent of the U.S. adult population.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about metabolic syndrome.

SOURCE: Medical College of Wisconsin, news release, April 28, 2006

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