Is There a Link Between PAH and Metabolic Syndrome?

This year, the National Lipid Association held its Scientific Sessions from June 2-5, 2022. During the Scientific Sessions, attendees discussed new research, clinical best practices, and other topics within this realm. According to Cardiology Advisor, one presentation (Poster 61) centered around research regarding potential associations between pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and metabolic syndrome. Researchers performed a retrospective analysis of the 2016-18 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, using data from 90,902,481 individuals, to determine if any associations existed. 

Metabolic Syndrome: An Overview

Out of those included in the study, approximately 0.17% had metabolic syndrome. The Mayo Clinic explains that metabolic syndrome is: 

a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Study Findings: The Relationship between PAH and Metabolic Syndrome

Researchers found that patients with metabolic syndrome often had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Additionally, a majority of those with metabolic syndrome were male. Metabolic syndrome was also associated with a heightened risk of developing PAH compared to those without metabolic syndrome, and higher rates of serious cardiac events such as a heart attack or heart failure. 

However, the researchers found no association between metabolic syndrome, PAH, health complications, length of hospitalization, or the number of people who died in the hospital. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope that more research will be done into the potential link between metabolic syndrome and PAH. In doing so, researchers hope the scientific community may be able to find more effective treatment options and improve patient outcomes.

What is Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)?

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic, progressive form of high blood pressure in the lungs. Typically caused by BMPR2 gene mutations, PAH causes the hardening and thickening of pulmonary arteries. This means that the heart must work harder to circulate blood and receive oxygen, so the body receives less oxygenated blood in turn while the heart muscle becomes weaker. PAH may also result from drug use, HIV, lung or liver disease, various autoimmune diseases, sickle cell disease (SCD), and congenital heart disease. Altogether, PAH is 2x more common in females than males. It often manifests between the ages of 30 and 60. Symptoms of PAH can include:

  • Shortness of breath which worsens during exertion
  • Swelling of the legs and ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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