Obesity, Leptin and Blood Clots
Leptin linked to obesity and blood clots
High levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells in the body, could explain why obese people develop dangerous blood clots - which can cause heart attacks and strokes - more often than people who are not overweight.
Obesity and Blood Clots
The association between obesity and blood clots is well known; but the cause has remained a mystery. Now, new research with mice, conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School and published in the April 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that leptin may be responsible.
Leptin Levels in Obese People
Leptin released by fat cells regulates body weight in part by suppressing appetite. When leptin levels in blood go up, the brain signals us to stop eating. But the system breaks down for those who are grossly overweight. Since they have more and larger leptin-producing fat cells than thinner people, their leptin levels increase substantially with every pound of additional weight gain. When leptin reaches very high levels in the blood obese people become resistant to leptin's signal - making them increasingly vulnerable to leptin-induced blood clotting.
While it certainly plays a major role,leptin may not be the only factor involved. The link between obesity and cardiovascular disease is very complex, and there is much we don't know about how other blood clotting factors are regulated in obesity.
University of Michigan Website, 2001
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