DOI: 10.2337/diacare.24.4.683 ISSN:

Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality Associated With the Metabolic Syndrome

Bo Isomaa, Peter Almgren, Tiinamaija Tuomi, Björn Forsén, Kaj Lahti, Michael Nissén, Marja-Riitta Taskinen, Leif Groop
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

OBJECTIVE—To estimate the prevalence of and the cardiovascular risk associated with the metabolic syndrome using the new definition proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A total of 4,483 subjects aged 35–70 years participating in a large family study of type 2 diabetes in Finland and Sweden (the Botnia study) were included in the analysis of cardiovascular risk associated with the metabolic syndrome. In subjects who had type 2 diabetes (n = 1,697), impaired fasting glucose (IFG)/impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (n = 798), or insulin-resistance with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) (n = 1,988), the metabolic syndrome was defined as presence of at least two of the following risk factors: obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, or microalbuminuria. Cardiovascular mortality was assessed in 3,606 subjects with a median follow-up of 6.9 years.

RESULTS—In women and men, respectively, the metabolic syndrome was seen in 10 and 15% of subjects with NGT, 42 and 64% of those with IFG/IGT, and 78 and 84% of those with type 2 diabetes. The risk for coronary heart disease and stroke was increased threefold in subjects with the syndrome (P < 0.001). Cardiovascular mortality was markedly increased in subjects with the metabolic syndrome (12.0 vs. 2.2%, P < 0.001). Of the individual components of the metabolic syndrome, microalbuminuria conferred the strongest risk of cardiovascular death (RR 2.80; P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS—The WHO definition of the metabolic syndrome identifies subjects with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and offers a tool for comparison of results from different studies.

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