Associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular events and cancer, obesity is a worldwide problem affecting developed and developing countries. Microcirculatory vessels, represented by arterioles, capillaries and venules (mean internal diameter < 100 μm), are the place where blood/tissue nutrition and exchange effectively take place. Microvascular dysfunction is an early event in obesity probably secondary to endothelial dysfunction and capillaries rarefaction. New research techniques allow the investigation of the microcirculation in different vascular beds in humans. Studies suggest a link between endothelial dysfunction and visceral obesity. Oxidative stress, inflammation and rennin-angiotensin system are among factors considered to be involved on microvascular dysfunction in obesity. Microcirculatory impairment present in obesity suggests that it could be an important causal factor in obesity-related disorders such as insulin resistance and hypertension. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab. 2009;53(2):238-245.
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