Obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 25 kg/m2. Once thought to simply be a nutritional disorder, obesity has become a major health concern characterized by a state of constant low-grade inflammation caused by chronic adiposity. This state of inflammation is characterized by circulating inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6, leptin, and TNF-α, as well as varying levels of glucose-regulating hormones produced by obese adipose tissue. When left untreated, obesity can lead to a number of diseases including, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, neurodegeneration, type II diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and infertility. The distribution of adiposity differs in men and women, and these differences, along with the differences in sex hormones and sex hormone levels, can exacerbate or attenuate the course of disease pathology. Obesity can also be exacerbated by stress, which can worsen disease pathogenesis. In this review, we will explore how obesity affects inflammation and disease and how sex can affect the course of these diseases.
Part of the book: Translational Studies on Inflammation