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Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2011 Oct-Dec;53(4):5-14.

The metabolic syndrome in Bulgaria.

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Medicobiological Unit, International Scientific Institute, National Sports Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria.


The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of central obesity, hyper/dyslipiemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertension is constantly increasing worldwide. Although, the exact mechanisms underlying the development of the MetS are not completely understood, modern lifestyle of physical inactivity and unhealthy nutrition, obesity, and their interaction with genetic factors are considered largely responsible. It has been convincingly demonstrated that the metabolic syndrome is associated with substantially increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as, with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. The prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in Bulgaria has dramatically increased in the last decades. For the same period CVD mortality in the country have also gradually increased and Bulgaria is nowadays among the countries with the highest macrovascular disease death rates in Europe. A number of epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the prevalence of the MetS and of its individual components has also increased during the last decades and is nowadays relatively high among the general population in Bulgarian and extremely high among high-risk individuals. Surprisingly, the prevalence of the MetS is also high among the low risk population in the country and most of its components that are independent predictors of CVD mortality are largely undiagnosed. Furthermore, the presence of the MetS is associated with history of myocardial infarction in the country. Although objective data is somewhat scarce, several studies have reported association of the low physical activity level and the unhealthy nutritional habits with the prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases among the Bulgarian population. Taking into account these observations it may be suggested that indeed the high metabolic syndrome prevalence that results as a consequence of unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for the extremely high CVD mortality rates in Bulgaria. Therefore, large-scale screening programmes should be undertaken within this population in combination with health prevention strategies promoting regular physical activity and improvement of nutritional habits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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