Cells in Obese People May Predict Risk of Disease

Susan Farley
Published Online: Monday, November 1, 2004

A recent study pinpointed certain cells among obese people that are in an inflamed state, thus acting as a possible predictor of diabetes and heart disease. Researchers studied blood samples from normal-weight people and obese people who were known to be at risk for heart disease and diabetes. Among the samples from the obese group, there were higher levels of mononuclear cells. These cells, a type of immune system cell, were in an inflammatory state. The obese group also had lower levels of the factors that would inhibit this type of inflammation. The inflamed state of these cells can lead to hardening of the arteries and can interfere with insulin rates. These findings show that blood screening may determine risk of diabetes or heart disease among obese persons. This cell inflammation may be controlled with proper diet and/or medication, but more research is needed to determine how well these strategies could reduce cell inflammation.

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