Metabolic Syndrome Termed a Growing U.S. Health Threat

Panel urges greater awareness of condition that causes heart problems, diabetes

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MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- New guidelines for the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome are outlined in a scientific statement published in the Sept. 13 issue of the journal Circulation.

Metabolic syndrome, which affects more than 26 percent of adult Americans (more than 50 million people) consists of multiple, interrelated factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis by 1.5 to 3 fold and the risk of type 2 diabetes by 3 to 5 fold.

The interrelated factors that comprise metabolic syndrome include: abdominal obesity; elevated levels of blood fats called triglycerides; reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL or 'good' ) cholesterol; elevated blood pressure; and elevated fasting blood sugar.

People with abnormal levels of three of these factors should be considered as having metabolic syndrome.

The scientific statement by the American Heart Association and the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute confirms the recommendations on metabolic syndrome in a 2001 report by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III.

This new statement by an expert panel did make some modifications to the 2001 report and clarified several issues based on new scientific evidence.

"The panel reviewed, affirmed and reinforced the previous statement. Metabolic syndrome is an important issue both for physicians and the general public," panel chairman Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about metabolic syndrome.

SOURCE: Sept. 13, 2005, Circulation news release

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