Obesity is a direct cause of many diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or dyslipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides), but it has also been linked to cognitive impairment for a number of years: up to three times more risk than in normal weight people.
In response to this situation and with the aim of raising awareness of the need to maintain healthy lifestyle habits (appropriate diet and physical activity), the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN) and the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO) have presented the campaign “Take care of your weight, take care of your memory”.
Mens sana in corpore sano “, summed up Dr. Irene Bretón, president of SEEN, who emphasized that the idea is” to take care of ourselves now to age better both in body and mind “.
Obesity, defined as excess fat mass, is a chronic disease that has become the epidemic of the 21st century and one of the most important public health challenges. In Spain, one in five suffer from it and almost 40% are overweight.
Dr. Purificación Martínez de Icaya, from the board of directors of SEEDO, has stressed that it is not only important the presence of obesity, but also the distribution of body fat, since the predominance of abdominal fat is especially related to the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
As we gain weight, subcutaneous tissue loses the ability to accumulate fat, which goes to the abdomen, where it has more room. But when abdominal adipose tissue also fills up, fat moves to the heart, muscles, liver, kidneys and central nervous system,”said Dr. Martinez de Icaya.
And “that’s where the whole cascade of chronic diseases begins,” she said.
One of the mechanisms that seems to associate cognitive impairment and dementia is the presence of insulin resistance in patients with obesity, especially when it is located in the abdomen.
A recent study has shown that increased insulin resistance is associated with higher levels of beta-amyloid, a substance directly involved in the development of some types of dementia.
Another factor, according to both scientific societies, is that people with obesity may have associated cardiovascular diseases, which negatively influence brain blood risk and therefore contribute to cognitive impairment.
More body mass index (BMI), more cognitive impairment in middle-aged people,”warned Dr. Martinez de Icaya.