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J Intern Med. 2005 Jul;258(1):28-37.

The metabolic syndrome in middle-aged men according to different definitions and related changes in carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) during 3 years of follow-up.

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Institute of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.



To examine the occurrence over time of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) according to different definitions and the relation to change during follow-up in carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), measured by ultrasound.


A cohort of 316, originally 58-year-old men, initially free of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, was followed for 3.2 +/- 0.2 years. IMT was measured bilaterally by high-resolution B-mode ultrasound at baseline and follow-up. The MetS was classified according to slightly modified World Health Organization (WHO) and National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) criteria.


In 88% WHO and NCEP definitions resulted in identical classifications. IMT was larger both at baseline and after 3 years in men fulfilling the criteria for the MetS, according to either of the definitions, compared to those without factors in the syndrome. Men who fulfilled the WHO criteria for the MetS, at the initial and final examination showed a statistically significant increase in carotid artery IMT during the study [76 (95% CI: 14-130) microm, n = 37]. Men fulfilling the WHO criteria for the MetS at baseline tended to have a larger annual increase in IMT than those not fulfilling the criteria or having no risk factors in the syndrome.


More than 10% of the men had the MetS both at baseline and after 3 years, and this was associated with an increase in IMT using the WHO definition. Several of the components included in the MetS deteriorated during follow-up, i.e. body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist circumference, blood glucose and blood pressure.

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