Metabolic Syndrome and Physicians

Despite controversy over the current definition of “metabolic syndrome”, physicians are using it as a useful clinical tool. It can be used to help with counseling patients and to recommend treatments.

Metabolic syndrome is currently defined as a combination of several risk factors that ultimately lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They include obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance and inflamation (1).

Each of the several risk factors that makes up metabolic syndrome requires varying treatments, so physicians may find that lumping them together is not useful. In fact, controversy exists on if the term “metabolic syndrome” is even defined correctly (1).

But a 2007 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis found that metabolic syndrome is beginning to find development as a useful clinical tool (2). The review focused on heart disease factors and found that metabolic syndrome increased risk strongly (2).

Reference List

1. Cheng AY, Leiter LA. Metabolic syndrome under fire: weighing in on the truth. Can J Cardiol 2006;22:379-82.
2. Gami AS, Witt BJ, Howard DE et al. Metabolic syndrome and risk of incident cardiovascular events and death: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007;49:403-14.

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