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Management of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with metabolic syndrome.

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Hypertension Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, 08036-Barcelona, Spain.


Metabolic syndrome is defined as the combination of abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and prothrombotic and proinflammatory states. Due to the epidemic proportion of overweight and obesity worldwide and the development of useful clinical tools to identify these patients more easily, metabolic syndrome is increasingly recognized in adults and represents a clear risk factor for the development of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Management of patients with metabolic syndrome is a clinical challenge and requires a multifactorial, multidisciplinary approach. Changes in lifestyle are obviously the first therapeutic step and include both dietary modifications and increased daily exercise. Several questions remain to be elucidated with respect to pharmacological treatment. The blood pressure levels required to initiate antihypertensive treatment, the blood pressure goal to be achieved and the possibility of including a renin-angiotensin system blocker as a part of the pharmacological treatment are still under discussion. The management of atherogenic dyslipidemia is focused on LDL-cholesterol levels, although most patients with metabolic syndrome have normal LDL-cholesterol. There is lack or poor evidence on the need for specific drugs to reduce triglycerides, to increase HDL-cholesterol, to improve insulin sensitivity or to decrease abdominal obesity. There is an urgent need for consensus in the treatment of subjects with metabolic syndrome in order to prevent very high future rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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