The Metabolic Syndrome: Prevalence, CHD Risk, and Treatment

J Diabetes Complications. Mar-Apr 2006;20(2):121-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2005.06.014.


An increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) morbidity and mortality is associated with the metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by the concomitant presence of several abnormalities, including abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance (with or without glucose intolerance or diabetes), microalbuminuria, prothrombotic, and proinflammatory states. Estimates of the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome indicate that this condition is now common and likely to increase dramatically over the coming decades, in parallel with greater rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome are already present in obese children and adolescents. Thus, identifying and treating all affected individuals promptly and optimally are critical to ensure that this potentially challenging healthcare burden is minimized. Here, we review the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemias, and CHD risk. Although changes in lifestyle are fundamental to reducing many of the CHD risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome, pharmacologic interventions also play an important role. Retrospective subanalyses of the effects of statins on coronary event rates and lipid levels in patients with the metabolic syndrome included in clinical trials indicate that these agents are beneficial in correcting the extensive lipid abnormalities that are frequently present in these individuals. However, the optimal management of metabolic syndrome dyslipidemia will depend on the outcomes of future prospective clinical trials. This review examines the underlying causes and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its impact on CHD morbidity and mortality and discusses the role of statins in optimizing its management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors