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Syndrome X ? another dangerous side effect of obesity

Susan Farley
Published Online: Thursday, April 1, 2004   [ Request Print ]

Syndrome X ? another dangerous side effect of obesity

The increase in the number of bariatric surgeries being performed is one indication of how serious the obesity epidemic has become and also signals an increased understanding of a condition called metabolic syndrome, or Syndrome X, which is believed to occur when years of obesity create a series of risk factors for heart disease. According to cardiologist Paul Howard, MD, the consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as high-fructose corn syrup used to flavor many processed foods, causes a spike in blood sugar. The body reacts by releasing more insulin into the bloodstream, and, in time, cells become resistant to insulin and blood sugar rises to unsafe levels. The excess insulin also causes inflammatory damage to the arteries and, ultimately, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that 131 million Americans are overweight or obese and 25% of the nation's adults suffer from metabolic syndrome.

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