Metabolic syndrome was seen to increase the risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in people of Han Chinese descent, and particularly in those with a large waistline.
The study, “Associations between metabolic syndrome and clinical benign prostatic hyperplasia in a northern urban Han Chinese population: A prospective cohort study,” published in the journal Scientific Reports, highlights that targeting metabolic disease may be important to both preventing and treating prostate enlargement.
Metabolic syndrome, the cluster of disturbances in metabolism linked to central obesity, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol levels and diabetes, triggers an inflammatory state in the body that can impact molecular pathways involved in BPH.
While it is biologically likely that metabolic syndrome may also affect the health of the prostate, not all epidemiological studies have found a link between the conditions. To better understand a potential connection, researchers at the Capital Medical University in China designed a prospective study, recruiting 1,130 men.
Participants were followed for a median of 7.7 years. At the study start, 258 men, amounting to 22.8 percent, had metabolic syndrome. While it was ongoing, between 2006 and 2015, 38 percent developed BPH. More men with metabolic syndrome developed BPH — 55% compared to 32.9%, — than those without the condition.
The research team grouped men with BPH into two categories, with one linked to more severe disease, needing medical treatment or surgery.
An analysis showed that having three or more symptoms of metabolic syndrome was linked to a 37 percent increased risk of developing BPH, and a 58 percent risk of more severe disease. Interestingly, men with two metabolic issues did not have an increased risk of non-severe BPH, but did have a 31 percent greater risk of severe disease.
The analysis also showed that as metabolic problems increased in number, so did the risk of prostate enlargement.
Taking a look at specific symptoms constituting metabolic syndrome, the team found that central obesity and low levels of good cholesterol were particularly driving the associations, with a large waistline almost doubling the risk of BPH.