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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Apr;28(4):629-36. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.107.151092. Epub 2008 Jan 3.

Metabolic syndrome pandemic.

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  • 1Center for Human Nutrition, Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Y3.206, Dallas, TX 75390-9052, USA.


The metabolic syndrome is a multiplex risk factor that consists of several risk correlates of metabolic origin. In addition, to dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperglycermia, the syndrome carries a prothrombotic state and a proinflammatory state. Persons with the metabolic syndrome are at essentially twice the risk for cardiovascular disease compared with those without the syndrome. It further raises the risk for type 2 diabetes by about 5-fold. Although some investigators favor keeping risk factors separate for purposes of clinical management, others believe that identifying individuals with an aggregation of risk factors provides additional useful information to guide clinical management. In particular it focuses attention on obesity and sedentary life habits that are the root of the syndrome. This review addresses the prevalence of this clustering phenomenon throughout the world. Such seems appropriate because of the increasing prevalence of obesity in almost all countries. The available evidence indicates that in most countries between 20% and 30% of the adult population can be characterized as having the metabolic syndrome. In some populations or segments of the population, the prevalence is even higher. On the other hand, in parts of developing world in which young adults predominate, the prevalence is lower; but with increasing affluence and aging of the population, the prevalence undoubtedly with rise.

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