Obesity’s role in metabolic syndrome and heart disease may surprise you


Obesity, a known trigger for heart disease, leads to a condition known as metabolic syndrome. The syndrome occurs when you have three independently worrisome conditions: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, said Jason Reynoso, MD, a bariatric surgeon at the HonorHealth Bariatric Center.

When the three occur together, blood vessels become damaged and plaque (made of fat, calcium and other unhealthy substances in the blood) forms in the arteries. The buildup of plaque restricts blood flow to and from the heart. This makes you susceptible to heart and kidney disease, stroke and more.

Obesity also causes leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that regulates appetite and weight control. With leptin resistance, the hormone no longer does its job, and the brain no longer registers when you’re full. You continue to crave and eat food, and your body holds onto the weight. Over time, leptin resistance can lead to congestive heart failure.

The imbalance of hormones produced in the stomach, liver and intestines contributes to metabolic syndrome. Bariatric surgery can reverse this. Dr. Reynoso said the procedure is the closest thing to magic for obese patients whose hormone imbalance issues are related to diet and lifestyle. In such cases, bariatric surgery can regulate hormone production and alleviate metabolic syndrome almost overnight.

For help understanding the root cause of your weight issues and to see if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery, call the HonorHealth Bariatric Center at 480-882-7460.