The global obesity epidemic, associated with the widespread adoption of western lifestyle, is the basis of an increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its numerous complications including vascular, renal, and liver diseases.
Globally, it is estimated that, in 2008, close to 1,4 billion adults were overweight, of which 500 millions were declared clinically obese.
The global epidemic obesity and its consequences
Changes to high-calorie diets coupled with sedentarity create an environment in which a person predisposed to weight gain may become obese. In addition to altered energetic metabolism, obesity is thought to induce a chronic inflammation in a wide variety of tissues including the liver, pancreas, muscle, adipose tissue and/or artery. In the long-term, these dysfunctions may lead to the degeneration of affected organs and serious illnesses such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction, stroke)
- Renal insufficiency
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis
Prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases
The prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases represent a major public health issue for which there is no real solution to halt associated complications and comorbidities. For example, the existing treatments for type 2 diabetes do not reduce the risk of vascular accident. As well, there is no existing treatment for NASH.
There are numerous warning signs that help to identify patients who are at risk. Moreover, several of these risk factors generally occur within the same individual:
- High level of fasting plasma glucose associated with insulin resistance
- Abdominal obesity
- Atherogenic dyslipidemia (with high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL-cholesterol or “good cholesterol”
- Proinflammatory status
The improvement of patient medical care requires the discovery of new drugs that act simultaneously on multiple aspects of the pathology.