Aims: To examine the relationship between the components of the metabolic syndrome and to explore whether insulin resistance unifies the clustering of components of the metabolic syndrome among urban elderly Koreans using exploratory factor analysis.
Methods: We included 1314 non-diabetic subjects over the age of 60 years, selected from a cross-sectional study, which was conducted in 1999 in Seoul, Korea. Factor analysis was carried out using the principle components analysis with Varimax orthogonal rotation of the components of the metabolic syndrome.
Results: We found four major factors of cardiovascular disease risk variables in our study subjects. Impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and obesity aggregated as the major domain. Obesity and dyslipidaemia variables were closely related and loaded on the same factor. However, hypertension was not linked closely with other factors of the metabolic syndrome.
Conclusions: Insulin resistance is not the only contributor to the metabolic syndrome among urban elderly Koreans. Although the components of the metabolic syndrome were closely related, the finding of more than one factor suggests that more than one pathophysiological mechanism underlies full expression of the metabolic syndrome among elderly Koreans.