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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 April;54(2):195-214

language: English

Metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular events: current controversies and recommendations

Zarich S. W.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Department of Medicine Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA


Metabolic syndrome is now present in up to 40% of the United States adult population and is associated with a nearly a two fold increase in cardiovascular events, independent of the presence of diabetes mellitus. The concept of the metabolic syndrome as clinical syndrome has recently been challenged, however, and controversy exists as to whether the metabolic syndrome adds to cardiovascular risk above and beyond the sum of its independent metabolic components. Given the epidemic of obesity in both industrialized and third world countries, this issue is of great importance. The current article puts this controversy into perspective and explores the association of metabolic syndrome with both accelerated cardiovascular risk and the risk of development of type 2 diabetes. The pathophysiology of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetes associated with metabolic syndrome is discussed and the importance of early recognition of metabolic syndrome and potential role of addressing insulin resistance is stressed. Clearly more data is needed, but it is safe to say that metabolic syndrome is a worldwide epidemic in association with central obesity and underlying insulin resistance, which will propel a marked increase in cardiovascular events and diabetes mellitus in the years to come. Further research is needed to understand the role of more aggressive therapy in preventing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events in the population.

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