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Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2010 Jun;8(3):279-86. doi: 10.1089/met.2009.0094.

Metabolic abnormalities and coronary heart disease risk in human immunodeficiency virus-infected adults.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130, USA.



Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, It has been reported to be increased in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals.


In a cohort of HIV-infected adults we examined parameters that contribute to defining the metabolic syndrome and to estimating the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The study group consisted of 296 participants (217 men and 79 women) of mixed ethnicity with a mean age of 45.3 years.


There was an appreciable prevalence of metabolic syndrome (30.0%), with the frequency increasing to 42.5% in those over 50 years of age. Those with the metabolic syndrome had a lower viral load. More women had abdominal obesity (59.5%) than men (20.7%, P < 0.001). The frequency of elevated plasma glucose was higher in females (37.2%) compared to males (16.9%, P = 0.004). High frequencies of decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and elevated blood pressure were seen in both sexes. Hypertriglyceridemia was less prevalent in African Americans. In those under 50 years of age, the 10-year CHD risk score for men was double that for women (6.2% vs 2.7%, P < 0.001). In older participants, the risk was similar between the sexes, with a third having scores over 10%.


The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher than in most other HIV cohorts. Those with the syndrome had significantly lower viral loads. Mean 10-year Framingham Cardiovascular Risk (FCR) scores were nearly doubled for those with metabolic syndrome. Both researchers and clinicians should consider age as well as sex when assessing patients with HIV infection for risks associated with metabolic syndrome.

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