Background: The combination of cardiovascular risk factors known as the metabolic syndrome is receiving increased attention from physicians, but data on the syndrome's association with morbidity are limited.
Methods and results: Applying National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) criteria, we evaluated 10 357 NHANES III subjects for the 5 component conditions of the metabolic syndrome: insulin resistance, abdominal obesity based on waist circumference, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), and hypertension, as well as the full syndrome, defined as at least 3 of the 5 conditions. Logistic regression was used to estimate the cross-sectional association of the syndrome and each of its 5 component conditions separately with history of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and either MI or stroke (MI/stroke). Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, and cigarette smoking. The metabolic syndrome was significantly related in multivariate analysis to MI (OR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.53 to 2.64), stroke (OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.48 to 3.16), and MI/stroke (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.64 to 2.57). The syndrome was significantly associated with MI/stroke in both women and men. Among the component conditions, insulin resistance (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.66), low HDL-C (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.74), hypertension (OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.00 to 2.08), and hypertriglyceridemia (OR, 1.66; 95% CI=1.20 to 2.30) were independently and significantly related to MI/stroke.
Conclusions: These results indicate a strong, consistent relationship of the metabolic syndrome with prevalent MI and stroke.