Author(s): Kaaja RJ, PyhnenAlho MK
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Insulin sensitivity decreases for the first time in females at the time of menarche. A much more profound decrease in insulin sensitivity is observed at the end of pregnancy. This physiological insulin resistance is not accompanied by a rise in overall sympathetic activity as reflected in plasma noradrenaline levels, but there is evidence of moderate sympathetic overactivity in muscle and the heart. Pre-eclampsia is characterized by increased insulin resistance, sympathetic overactivity and a particular lipid profile. Thus it is the first manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Women with a history of pre-eclampsia have persistent insulin resistance after pregnancy associated with increased sympathetic activity of the cardiovascular system, and coronary artery disease later in life. Aging is accompanied by a greater increase in sympathetic traffic in women than in men, and inflammation (measured via C-reactive protein) seems to be more strongly related to metabolic syndrome in women than in men. The clinical relevance of these observations remains to be shown. As the key factors of metabolic syndrome, such as insulin resistance and sympathetic overactivity, are closely inter-related, treatment should be aimed at cutting the vicious circle at many points: lifestyle modification (diet, increasing exercise) as a basis of therapy, use of insulin sensitizers (e.g. metformin) to decrease insulin resistance, central sympatholytics (e.g. moxonidine), and AT-receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to overcome sympathetic overactivity, hypertension and inflammation.
This article was published in J Hypertens
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism