Unhealthy Body Weight and Metabolic Syndrome Increase Prostate Growth Rate

December 28, 2016 Updated: January 13, 2017

Men with metabolic syndrome are at higher risk of prostate growth and cancer.

The new data come from a five-year study, published in the journal “Urology” in October, that looked at 1,088 adult men over the age of 40. Researchers found that obese men and those who were newly diagnosed with metabolic syndrome experienced faster-than-normal growth of the prostate gland. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms including high blood sugar and pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess fat around the waist.

The study’s results are in line with previous research findings on the issue and make it clearer than ever that men with an unhealthy weight profile and/or metabolic syndrome are putting themselves at greater risk of developing an enlarged prostate.

Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlarged prostate is a common issue for older men. When the prostate grows too large, it squeezes the urethra, the tube running through the center of the prostate gland that carries urine and semen out. Over time, the expanding prostate restricts the flow of urine.

BPH does not lead to prostate cancer, but the two conditions can coexist.



The study pointed out that both obesity and metabolic syndrome are related to inflammation. Prostate enlargement is also promoted by inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as high blood sugar levels. Inflammation has also been implicated as a main stimulus for prostate cancer.

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is America’s longest-running scientific study of human aging, has shown similar results, finding that men with large waist circumferences are more likely to have BPH. Another study from 1998 also showed that men who have metabolic syndrome have a higher growth rate of the prostate than men without metabolic syndrome.

The takeaway message from these studies is that all men need to be educated and informed about making healthy lifestyle modifications as they age. There needs to be help for these men to eat a healthier diet and get more exercise to reduce their weight, waist circumference, and the risk of metabolic syndrome. While this won’t totally eliminate BPH, it is certainly a step in the right direction to reduce the incidence of the condition.

Study Specs

Men selected for the recent study published in “Urology” were an average age of 54 and attended the Health Screening and Promotion Center at Asan Medical Center in Seoul at least twice a year for routine health checkups between January 2006 and December 2013. The health screenings included anthropometric measurements of height, weight, and waist circumference, along with blood tests, electrocardiography, a detailed clinical examination, and a transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) performed by experienced urologists.

Dr. David B. Samadi. (Courtesy David B. Samadi)
Dr. David B. Samadi. (Courtesy David B. Samadi)

Dr. David Samadi is the chairman of the urology department and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Learn more at RoboticOncology.com and visit Dr. Samadi’s blog, SamadiMD.com

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