Metabolic Syndrome Rate Stabilizing

Metabolic syndrome prevalence in US stabilized overall since 2007

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) A cluster of health problems — collectively known as metabolic syndrome — puts many at possible risk for heart disease and stroke. The good news? Rates for this condition appear to be stabilizing in the US.

A new study found that prevalence of metabolic syndrome among all US adults have stayed the same overall since 2007. In fact, these numbers have gone down among women.

This is in contrast to rates from 2003 to 2006, when metabolic syndrome prevalence was increasing.

“Understanding updated prevalence trends may be important given the potential effect of the metabolic syndrome and its associated health complications on the aging US population,” wrote lead study author Robert J. Wong, MD, of the Alameda Health System-Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA, and colleagues.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of health conditions that occur together. These conditions may include obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist and high cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome may lead to cardiovascular illness — like heart disease and stroke — and early death.

Having just one of these health condition does not mean a patient has metabolic syndrome. But having any of these conditions may increase the risk of heart disease. Developing more than one condition makes that risk higher. Metabolic syndrome can be delayed or prevented through lifestyle changes — such as eating healthier or exercising more — however.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2006, nearly 34 percent of all US adults had metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Wong and team looked at NHANES data from 2003 to 2012 for metabolic syndrome prevalence among US adults age 20 older.

From 2003 to 2012, overall metabolic syndrome prevalence went up from about 33 percent to 35 percent. But from 2007 to 2012, prevalence among men stayed the same and prevalence among women went down. The syndrome was also found to increase with age — jumping up from about 18 percent (for ages 20 to 39) to almost 47 percent (for age 60 or older).

Dr. Wong and team wrote that the high metabolic syndrome prevalence among the elderly was “a concerning observation given the aging U.S. population.”

According to the authors, treatment of metabolic syndrome risk factors may have improved due to raised awareness of the illness and its health consequences.

This study was published May 19 in the journal JAMA.

The authors disclosed no funding sources or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
May 19, 2015
Last Updated:
May 28, 2015