What is Obesity and Why Does It Matter?
Obesity is a serious health condition characterized by excess body weight.
It is often linked with numerous health problems, including abnormal blood fat levels, type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), high blood pressure, and obstructive sleep apnea.
These conditions, called comorbidities, boost the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Therefore, reducing obesity is a crucial step in preventing CVD.
Semaglutide: A New Hope
In recent years, an anti-obesity medication called semaglutide has gained attention. Approved by the FDA, this drug has shown promise in combating obesity.
However, there’s still much to learn about its impact on cardiovascular health, particularly for patients with and without T2DM.
A Closer Look at the Study
Dr. Andres Acosta and Dr. Wissam Ghusn from the Mayo Clinic spearheaded a study to examine the effect of semaglutide on CVD risk.
The study included 93 participants, all of whom had a body-mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m^2 or more, were between the ages of 40-79, and had no previous history of CVD. They were treated with semaglutide for one year.
The team used the 10-year ASCVD risk estimator from the American College of Cardiology to calculate participants’ cardiovascular risk before and after the semaglutide treatment.
They also monitored changes in metabolic parameters and medication use.
What Did They Find?
The majority of the study’s participants were female (69%) and white (91%), with an average age of 55. Their average BMI was 39.8kg/m^2, just shy of the threshold for class III obesity.
The study revealed a significant reduction in the 10-year ASCVD risk score from 7.64% to 6.26% after one year of semaglutide use – a decrease of 1.38%.
Other health indicators improved as well, with notable reductions in blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides (another type of blood fat), fasting glucose, and HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar control).
While the use of other medications like blood pressure drugs, statins, or aspirin remained unchanged, there was a 10.9% body weight loss among the participants after 12 months of semaglutide use.
The results are promising: semaglutide usage in overweight or obese patients is linked to a decreased 10-year ASCVD risk.
This reduction, although modest after only a year, could potentially lead to decreased cardiovascular illness and mortality risk over time if weight loss continues.
However, the authors stress the need for more research. Larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods are needed to fully understand the cardiovascular outcomes of semaglutide.
The researchers are considering conducting long-term studies to see if semaglutide’s effect on cardiovascular risk extends or changes over time.
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