Abdominal obesity and increased levels of leptin (a hormone that sends a signal when the stomach is full after eating) are associated with an increased risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), researchers from Korea report.
Results were published in a study titled “Obesity As A Risk Factor For Prostatic Enlargement: A Retrospective Cohort Study In Korea,” in the International Neurourology Journal.
Obesity is one of the factors that may contribute to the onset of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Previous reports have shown that metabolic syndrome may be associated with BPH, and obesity has also been shown to increase the risk of symptomatic BPH in developed countries.
To study the relationship between obesity-related factors and BPH in Korean men, researchers analyzed baseline data included in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study on Atherosclerosis Risk of Rural Areas in the Korean General Population (KoGES-ARIRANG). This is a study that assessed the prevalence and incidence of and risk factors for chronic degenerative disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome in rural areas of South Korea.
Risk factors included smoking status, body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, body fat, and blood levels of cholesterol.
The KoGES-ARIRANG study included 2,127 men with ages ranging from 40 to 70. Between March 2015 and November 2015, these men were invited to participate in the Korean Prostate Health Council Screening Program, which provided a free medical exam to men in the general community.
A total of 602 men attended the screening program, which consisted of a urological exam, including measurement of blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) and a transrectal ultrasonography to assess prostate volume. Patients were also asked to complete the International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire.
Men with a history of prostatic disease or testosterone replacement, or who had undergone a prior prostatic surgery or procedure, were excluded from the study, leaving 571 participants. These men were then divided into three groups according to their prostate volume, which was then related to the risk factors mentioned above.
The analysis indicated that obesity-related parameters, such as body mass index, body fat composition, visceral fat composition, and waist circumference were significantly different between groups, as well levels of leptin, often called the “satiety hormone.”
Also, among the different risk factors for metabolic syndrome considered, waist circumference was the one shown to be significantly correlated with increases in prostate volume.
Importantly, abdominal obesity, measured by body mass index, waist circumference, body fat and visceral fat composition, was significantly associated with the development of BPH (patients presented a prostate volume equal or above 40 mL).
Researchers also found that high levels of leptin were significantly correlated with high-volume BPH, whereas low levels of adiponectin (a protein that regulates sugar levels in the body) were associated with a decreased risk of BPH. This finding suggests that a balance between the two molecules may be associated with obesity-induced prostatic growth and BPH.
“We believe that obesity management and prevention may be a novel target for the prevention of BPH,” researchers wrote. “… physical activity and lifestyle modification may have a therapeutic effect in men with BPH.”
“These data show that many of the metabolic disturbances associated with cardiovascular disease and their modulating lifestyle factors may be associated with BPH onset and progression. Therefore, urologists should consider the effect of obesity on urological health as well as overall public health,” they wrote.