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Effects of obesity on sympathetic nervous system

Shilalipi Pradhan, Anshuman Pattanaik, Nirupama Ray.


Background: Obesity is a chronic, relapsing, neurochemical disorder controlled by the autonomic nervous system. It is an imbalance in the energy homeostasis that leads to cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) plays an important role in the regulation of metabolic and cardiovascular homeostasis. SNS activation is characteristic of a number of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases that occur more frequently in obese individuals.

Aims and Objective: This study aims to assess the relationship between cardiac autonomic function (handgrip and cold pressor test [CPT]) and obesity in adults.

Materials and Methods: This is an experimental analytical non-randomized study. Body mass index was calculated by Quetelet’s index. Cardiac autonomic function tests employed were handgrip test (HGT) and CPT.

Results: In HGT, the mean increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) was 9.85 mmHg and 8.54 mmHg in obese and 15.88 mmHg and 14.15 mmHg in non-obese. While in CPT, the mean increase in SBP and DBP was 11.2 mmHg and 9.12 mmHg in obese and 17.00 mmHg and 14.62 mmHg in non-obese.

Conclusion: The increase in SBP and DBP was significantly less in obese as compared to non-obese during autonomic function tests.

Key words: Obesity; Sympathetic Nervous System; Autonomic Function Test; Handgrip Test; Cold Pressor Test; Quetelet’s Index

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