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Women infected with high-risk HPV strains and metabolic syndrome have nearly triple the risk of death

Women who suffer from both metabolic syndrome and infection with high-risk HPV strains have a mortality rate 2.6 times higher than those without these conditions. The data comes from a comprehensive study conducted in the USA, which lasted more than a decade and involved over 5,000 participants. The results highlight the importance of evaluating associated chronic diseases in individuals with HPV-related infections and cancers.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, shows that over a quarter of women with metabolic syndrome also had high-risk HPV strains. The mere presence of HPV does not necessarily increase the risk of mortality; rather, the persistence of high-risk strains combined with metabolic syndrome presents a significant danger. This distinction is important given that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, often cleared by the body without long-term consequences unless it evolves into a persistent infection. The results also indicate the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, participating in regular cancer screenings, and using HPV vaccinations.

Metabolic syndrome represents a group of metabolic conditions that amplify the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, obesity, and dyslipidemia. The mechanisms involved in metabolic syndrome are complex, involving genetic, behavioral, and environmental interactions, with insulin resistance identified as a central mechanism. Insulin resistance causes cellular inefficiency in absorbing blood glucose, contributing to hyperglycemia and predisposition to type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Marius Geantă, President of the Center for Innovation in Medicine and one of the key experts involved in ReThinkHPVaccination, commented on the study results in the Știința 360 podcast show on Radio România Cultural:

"In principle, there are two very high-risk HPV strains, 16 and 18. Infection with these strains implies a very high risk of developing cervical cancer. There are at least two other strains, 32 and 45, which present a high risk. The news is very important, and I think if the study had been published earlier, it could have been published on March 4, when both World HPV Day and World Obesity Day were marked on the same day.

At that time, I made a post on a social network saying that there seems to be a confusion here, but a great opportunity for cancer prevention. Why? Because HPV infection is a major risk factor. Vaccination is the kind of intervention that helps a lot, and obesity, part of the metabolic syndrome, is also a risk factor for cancer development. So, if we look at things from this perspective of risk factors influencing cancer development and in the case of the news we are discussing and the risk of death, we should not be surprised.

I think these are things that have been well known for a long time, evidenced by the fact that the European Code against Cancer talks about combating obesity and HPV vaccination as two extremely effective recommendations and tools. Only we, as doctors and in health systems, are usually used to seeing things in isolation and not making these connections which, in fact, represent great opportunities for women in this case."

Dr. Marius Geantă, in the Știința 360 show - Raportuldegardă.ro

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
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