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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2005 Aug;46(2):125-9.

The cardiovascular continuum in Asia--a new paradigm for the metabolic syndrome.


Atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and heart failure are cardiovascular complications in a continuum that begins with risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. These particular cardiovascular risk factors commonly occur together in obese individuals as components of the metabolic syndrome. In Asia, there is a trend toward an increase in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Abdominal adiposity is arguably the key factor underlying the development of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. It is now known that adipose tissues secrete adipokines, and in obese subjects, there is a chronic low-grade inflammation. The inflammation and the associated endothelial dysfunction are reversible in the early stages. The Asian diet is low in animal fat but high in carbohydrates. Recent studies suggest that low-carbohydrate diets are more effective than low fat diets in inducing weight loss, suggesting that excessive carbohydrate rather than fat is the cause of obesity. Strategies to combat cardiovascular disease should now focus on tackling the epidemic of obesity and developing innovative and effective lifestyle and pharmacological interventions.

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