Aims/hypothesis: We examined features of the metabolic syndrome to see if they modified the risk of chronic diabetic complications in patients with Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus.
Methods: A total of 85 randomly selected patients with the metabolic syndrome (WHO definition) were compared with 85 Type II diabetic patients matched for age, sex, duration of diabetes, glycaemic control and without the syndrome to assess the microvascular and macrovascular complications.
Results: The patients with the metabolic syndrome had a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease (52 vs 21%, p < 0.001), microalbuminuria or macroalbuminuria (23 vs 7%, p = 0.003) and distal neuropathy (16 vs 6%, p = 0.048) than patients without the syndrome. The patients with the metabolic syndrome had smaller LDL particle size (25.4+/-1.4 vs 26.4+/-1.1 nm; p < 0.001), which correlated with the ratio of serum triglycerides to HDL cholesterol (r = -0.64, p < 0.001). In a multiple logistic regression analysis the metabolic syndrome was associated with coronary heart disease (RR 3.84, p < 0.001) and microalbuminuria (RR 3.99, p = 0.01). Small LDL particle size was independently associated with neuropathy (RR 0.58; p = 0.04), whereas a high HbA1c was related to neuropathy (RR 1.69, p = 0.04), retinopathy (RR 1.53, p = 0.002) and microalbuminuria (RR 1.54, p = 0.01).
Conclusion/interpretation: Although chronic hyperglycaemia is the main predictor of microvascular complications in patients with Type II diabetes, this risk is modified by some of the components of the metabolic syndrome.