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Am J Cardiol. 2007 Feb 19;99(4A):68B-79B. Epub 2006 Dec 27.

Weight management for type 2 diabetes mellitus: global cardiovascular risk reduction.

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Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.


Most patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are overweight or obese, and the relation between obesity, especially of the visceral compartment, and the risk for developing diabetes is well recognized. Excessive adipose tissue is associated with insulin resistance as well as the increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and prothrombotic factors, all of which contribute to elevating the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). In particular, abdominal obesity, or excess visceral adiposity, has been linked to a cluster of risk factors (high blood pressure, hypertriglyceridemia, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and impaired fasting glucose) that constitute the metabolic syndrome, the presence of which confers an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In fact, a large waist circumference, a surrogate measure of abdominal adiposity, is 1 of the main criteria for diagnosing the metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle modification is the first-line approach to the management of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. However, if patients are unable to achieve a weight loss of 5%-10% of initial body weight and improve cardiometabolic risk factors with lifestyle modification alone, physicians should consider using adjunctive long-term pharmacotherapy. A variety of approved and investigational pharmacologic agents, including sibutramine, orlistat, metformin, and rimonabant, have been shown to reduce weight and ameliorate metabolic syndrome components, thereby reducing cardiovascular risk. Such global risk reduction is crucial for patients with diabetes, in whom CAD is a major cause of mortality.

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