Size Matters: Men And Belly Fat

Big bellies bring big risks, especially for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, warns Dr. David Samadi, leading robotic prostatectomy surgeon.

Oct 24, 2012, 07:37 ET from Dr. David Samadi

NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Winter's just around the corner, but colder temps are no excuse for hibernating or storing extra fat. Unlike our grizzly counterparts, big bellied men are actually carrying around some pretty "big" health concerns. "As your waistline grows, so do the risks," cautions prostate cancer expert, Dr. David Samadi, who has successfully performed more than 4,000 SMART robotic prostate removal surgeries, many on overweight men.

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Abdominal fat or visceral fat, is the spare tire that collects around the middles of men and women. In men, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches is considered high risk and medical research continues to quantify exactly what those belly fat risks are. Chief among the belly beasts are cardiac disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction (ED), and even certain cancers that include prostate cancer.

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

"Metabolic Syndrome is a medical diagnosis for what occurs in an obese body. We're no longer making generalizations about the health risks of obesity," explains Dr. Samadi, "instead we're quantifying exactly how weight and, in this case, visceral fat directly damages organs, glands, and overall functioning."

Metabolic Syndrome proves that visceral fat isn't just along for the ride. "Men with unhealthy amounts of stomach fat experience significant changes in chemical and hormonal balances. And geographically, belly fat has prime real estate for damaging essential organs and glands," Dr. Samadi says.

Belly Fat And Prostate Cancer

A new look at Metabolic Syndrome and prostate cancer by researchers at Umea University in Sweden found that weight-related health factors can significantly increase risk of death from prostate cancer. Those with the highest BMIs (Body Mass Indexes) had a 36% increased risk of prostate cancer death and those with the highest blood pressures had a 62% increased risk.

The study does not prove that belly fat causes prostate cancer, but it makes clear connections between the health risks of excess weight and increased prostate cancer death rates, leading researchers to assume that visceral fat may speed the progression of the disease. The study of nearly 300,000 men appears this week in the journal Cancer.

"Considering that one-third of Americans are obese and significantly more are overweight, stomach fat becomes an important consideration pre- and post-prostate cancer diagnosis," says Dr. Samadi, "Men without cancer have an great opportunity to optimize their wellness by eating right and exercising. Once diagnosed with prostate cancer, those with excess weight should seriously consider immediate, definitive treatment like robotic prostatectomy surgery to remove the prostate cancer before fatty chemicals might accelerate things."

As Vice Chairman, Department of Urology and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Dr. David Samadi performs each robotic prostatectomy himself and welcomes higher risk patients, such as those that are considered obese.

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SOURCE Dr. David Samadi