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Metabolic Syndrome Increases Risk of Heart Disease, Death


A recent study has shown that middle-aged men who have what’s called “metabolic syndrome” have an increased risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease and death. People with metabolic syndrome have all of the following health conditions:

  • Insulin resistance (blood sugar that is higher than average but not yet considered to be diabetes)
  • Obesity
  • Abdominal fat (pot belly)
  • High blood cholesterol and triglycerides
  • High blood pressure

While healthcare providers and many people in the general population have known that each of these factors increases the risk of heart disease and death, it’s only recently that researchers have grouped the factors into a cluster and determined that, together, they define an actual health syndrome.

In the most recent study, researchers looked at men who were 42 to 60 years old and followed their health status for 11 years. At the start of the study, the men had metabolic syndrome, but none of them had diabetes or heart disease. Results showed that the study participants were about three times more likely to die of heart disease and cardiovascular disease than healthy men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 47 million Americans may have metabolic syndrome. The challenge to healthcare providers and to people with metabolic syndrome is to identify the condition early and make lifestyle changes that can bring down their health risks.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Journal of the American Medical Association, 4 December 2002
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