Sex Differences in Arterial Destiffening with Weight Loss
Ehrlich, Elizabeth R.
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Given the current obesity epidemic in tandem with the aging US population, it is imperative to identify methods for reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk that will be efficacious for both sexes. Arterial stiffness (AS) is an independent risk factor for a first cardiovascular event that increases with advancing age and obesity. Previous studies have found that modest weight loss (WL) of 5 to 10 percent successfully reduces AS and other risk factors for CVD. However, it remains unclear whether WL via caloric restriction reduces AS similarly among sexes. We tested the hypothesis that WL via caloric restriction would reduce AS more in men than women because men accumulate more abdominal visceral fat (VF) and lose more with WL compared with women of similar age and adiposity. To test our hypothesis AS was assessed from measurements of pulse wave velocity and ultrasonography of the carotid artery (Ã -SI). Total body and VF were measured using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography scans, respectively. Subjects underwent a 12-week WL intervention. No baseline differences in AS were observed between sexes. However, men were heavier and demonstrated higher levels of VF while women were fatter and had higher levels of abdominal subcutaneous fat. Contrary to our hypothesis both sexes experienced similar decreases in AS with WL despite greater reductions in VF in men. Our findings suggest that VF loss is not the primary mechanism mediating reductions in AS with WL. Future studies are needed to determine the mechanisms of arterial destiffening with WL.
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