Study: Increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems even with a slim figure

Every fifth slim person has an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
According to health experts, overweight people have an increased risk of complications such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. However, many slim people are also at risk of developing such diseases. Researchers have now found that this has to do with a malfunction in fat storage.

It's not just overweight people who are at risk
Scientists from the UK recently reported that being overweight can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease at a young age. In addition, obesity is known to be a risk factor for diabetes. But almost every fifth slim person also has an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Researchers have now found that those affected have a malfunction in fat storage, so that they hardly accumulate fat on their thighs.

The rule of thumb slim is healthy does not always apply
Slim is healthy - this rule of thumb does not always apply. Meta-analyzes of studies showed that there is a subgroup (almost 20 percent) of slim people with a damaged metabolism, the Helmholtz Zentrum München reports.

Your cardiovascular and mortality risk is more than threefold higher than that of healthy people. It is even higher than that of overweight people healthy from metabolism.

But what are the causes of this? What distinguishes this subgroup from the slim, metabolically healthy people? What are the phenotypic peculiarities of those affected?

Scientists from the Medical Clinic IV of the University Hospital of the University of Tübingen and the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, a member of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), answered these questions.

Lean subjects with damaged metabolism
They examined the data from 981 subjects and came to similar results as in the meta-analyzes - around 18 percent of the slim subjects had a damaged metabolism.

Those affected showed two or more risk parameters for a metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, lipid metabolism disorder with hypertriglyceridemia and low HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance or impaired glucose tolerance).

The team led by Norbert Stefan, Fritz Schick and Hans-Ulrich Häring examined the body fat, the fat distribution and the fat percentage in the liver using magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

They report on their results in the journal "Cell Metabolism".

Little fat on the legs
It was shown that those affected store little fat on their legs. Those affected have a phenotype similar to that of people with lipodystrophy, a change in the subcutaneous fat.

The scientists also examined insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, blood vessels and physical fitness. Here too there were abnormalities.

“However, the lack of fat on the legs is most associated with a risk of an unhealthy metabolism in slim people. It can therefore also be said that 'hip gold' keeps slim people healthy, 'summarizes Prof. Norbert Stefan the results.

For comparison: In people who are overweight, a non-alcoholic fatty liver and an increased abdominal fat percentage are the biggest risk factors for a metabolic derailment.

The scientists suggest that slim people who have two or more characteristics of the metabolic syndrome and hardly store fat on their legs should be carefully examined for possible damage to their metabolism.

It would be important to develop tailored lifestyle interventions or specific drug treatments for personalized prevention for the different subgroups of slim and overweight people with metabolic disorders. (ad)

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