Definition of Metabolic Syndrome
Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/American Heart Association Conference on Scientific Issues Related to Definition
The National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III report (ATP III)1 identified the metabolic syndrome as a multiplex risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) that is deserving of more clinical attention. The cardiovascular community has responded with heightened awareness and interest. ATP III criteria for metabolic syndrome differ somewhat from those of other organizations. Consequently, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, convened a conference to examine scientific issues related to definition of the metabolic syndrome. The scientific evidence related to definition was reviewed and considered from several perspectives: (1) major clinical outcomes, (2) metabolic components, (3) pathogenesis, (4) clinical criteria for diagnosis, (5) risk for clinical outcomes, and (6) therapeutic interventions.
Clinical Outcomes of Metabolic Syndrome
ATP III viewed CVD as the primary clinical outcome of metabolic syndrome. Most individuals who develop CVD have multiple risk factors. In 1988, Reaven2 noted that several risk factors (eg, dyslipidemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia) commonly cluster together. This clustering he called Syndrome X, and he recognized it as a multiplex risk factor for CVD. Reaven and subsequently others postulated that insulin resistance underlies Syndrome X (hence the commonly used term insulin resistance syndrome). Other researchers use the term metabolic syndrome for this clustering of metabolic risk factors. ATP III used this alternative term. It avoids the implication that insulin resistance is the primary or only cause of associated risk factors. Although ATP III identified CVD as the primary clinical outcome of the metabolic syndrome, most people with this syndrome have insulin resistance, which confers increased risk for type 2 diabetes. When diabetes becomes clinically apparent, CVD risk rises sharply. Beyond CVD and type 2 diabetes, individuals with metabolic syndrome seemingly are susceptible to other conditions, notably polycystic ovary syndrome, fatty liver, cholesterol gallstones, asthma, sleep disturbances, and some …