The quest for the optimal assessment of global cardiovascular risk: are traditional risk factors and metabolic syndrome partners in crime?

Cardiology. 2009;113(1):35-49. doi: 10.1159/000165919. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


Global risk calculators such as the Framingham risk score generally take into account traditional risk factors such as age, sex, blood pressure, smoking status, total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and the presence of diabetes which are recommended to be used in clinical practice to estimate patients' cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Over the last decades, the prevalence of obesity has dramatically increased all over the world. The deleterious form of obesity, visceral obesity, is the most prevalent form of the so-called metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors associated with perturbations of the lipoprotein-lipid profile and of the plasma glucose-insulin homeostasis also likely to be associated with increased blood pressure and a proinflammatory and prothrombotic state. To this date, metabolic syndrome is still in need of a place in global CVD risk prediction. As the metabolic syndrome is not likely to replace currently used global risk scoring algorithms, both traditional risk factors and emerging metabolic markers associated with the metabolic syndrome should be incorporated in future risk scoring systems to be developed in order to adapt CVD risk prediction tools to the epidemic of obesity which has direct consequences on the daily life of health professionals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat*
  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers