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Biomedical Reviews

Adipose tissue and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases

Alison M. Coates


Obesity is a major contributor to the rising prevalence of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in both the developed and developing world. Increased adipose tissue mass is associated with changes to the structure and function of the cardiovascular system to ensure circulatory requirements are met. Adipose tissue is a metabolically active endocrine organ that is capable of synthesizing and releasing a variety of signal proteins (adipokines), many of which impact unfavorably on both the cardiovascular system and metabolism. The extent of adiposity, location of fat deposits and variations in the secretion of adipokines, along with other factors, determine whether a particular obese person develops complications, including type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This review will discuss the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and will explore how complications of obesity impact on mortality, while healthy lifestyle may prevent them.

Biomedical Reviews 2006; 17: 89-104.

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About The Author

Alison M. Coates
University of South Australia of Adelaide

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