Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk of acute exacerbation of COPD: a preliminary study

Endocrine. 2010 Aug;38(1):76-82. doi: 10.1007/s12020-010-9351-3. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


Studies have confirmed correlation between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, to date, no studies have analyzed correlation between exacerbations of COPD (ECOPD) and MetS. The aim of this preliminary study was to examine if presence of MetS increases the frequency and duration of ECOPD. Patients with COPD were prospectively enrolled and followed between March 2008 and September 2009. Medical records, pulmonary function tests, chest X-rays; laboratory test results were gathered to establish the presence of COPD and MetS. Patients were divided in two groups; with and without MetS. The ECOPD was defined as worsening of symptoms requiring increased use of rescue medications and/or need for either systemic steroids or antibiotics or that led to emergency room visit or hospitalizations during 12 months follow-up. A total of 106 patients were recruited, 29 with MetS and 77 without. The mean exacerbation of COPD frequency was 2.4 ± 0.8 in MetS group versus 0.68 ± 0.6 in the control group during the follow-up period (P < 0.001). Mean duration of each exacerbation was 7.5 ± 1.5 days in patients with MetS versus 5 ± 2.4 days in patients without. Serum C-reactive protein (r = 0.31, P = 0.001), fasting blood glucose (r = 0.55, P < 0.001), and triglycerides (r = 0.251, P = 0.01) were positively and significantly correlated with exacerbation frequency. This study demonstrates an association between ECOPD and its duration with the MetS. The systemic inflammation induced by common cytokines may explain the linkage between the two conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lipase / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology*
  • Risk Factors


  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Lipase