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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2006 April;97(2):123-41

language: Italian

Metabolic syndrome and hypertension: prevention and treatment

Bernardi R., Cosentino E. R., Borghi C.

Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Biotecnologia Applicata D. Campanacci Università degli Studi di Bologna, Bologna


Since the 1950s the definition of the aggregate of metabolic disorders possibly presenting with adult obesity has evolved without reaching a unifying agreement on what metabolic syndrome is. After years of consensus on and research into identifying the extent to which certain criteria of metabolic syndrome may be predisposing factors for cardiovascular events, a reverse shift can be noticed in recent studies raising numerous points of contention about various elements that may be diagnostic for the syndrome. Of these, one of the most tenuous is probably arterial hypertension. Uncertainties have emerged regarding the arbitrariness of cut-off values, which differ according to the classification system the study applied, the methods of measurement, and the dilemma of hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance which is present in only 50-60% of individuals with hypertension. Currently available data fail to solve these conundrums; however, some studies have correlated hypertension and dislipidemia with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. International epidemiologic data indicate that the prevalence of the syndrome varies between populations and between the sexes within the same populations, suggesting that diagnostic criteria need to take better account of ethnic group origin.
Prevention of metabolic syndrome is still based on lifestyle changes; the huge risk of an imminent pandemic has called the attention of the American Heart Association to the importance of prevention and early treatment of the pediatric population--a new segment at risk of early cardiovascular events. Pharmacological therapy is directed at controlling various risk factors, particularly hypertension and metabolic disturbances. ACE inhibitors, sartans and statins are currently the drugs of first choice in treating metabolic syndrome.

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