Metabolic syndrome is associated with type 2 diabetes but has weak or no association with vascular disease risk in elderly populations, suggesting that attempts to define criteria that simultaneously predict risk for both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes are not helpful, according to a study published in the June 7 issue of the Lancet.
Naveed Sattar, MD, department of medicine at University of Glasgow in Scotland, and colleagues sought to find to what extent metabolic syndrome and its individual components were related to risk for these two diseases in elderly populations.
The researchers related metabolic syndrome and its five individual components to the risk of events of incident cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in 4,812 non-diabetic individuals 70 to 82 years of age from the PROSPER (Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk). They corroborated the data in a second prospective British Regional Heart Study (BRHS) of 2,737 non-diabetic men aged 60–79 years.
In PROSPER, the researchers found that 772 cases of CVD and 287 of diabetes occurred over 3.2 years. Metabolic syndrome was not associated with increased risk of CVD in those without baseline diseases, but was associated with increased risk of diabetes (4.41) as was each of its components, particularly fasting glucose (18.4), the authors wrote.
Results were similar in participants with existing cardiovascular disease. In BRHS, Sattar and colleagues found that 440 cases of CVD and 105 of diabetes occurred over seven years. Metabolic syndrome was modestly associated with CVD despite strong association with diabetes, according to the researchers.
In each study, body-mass index or waist circumference, triglyceride and glucose cutoff points were not associated with risk of CVD, but all five components were associated with risk of new-onset diabetes, according to Sattar and colleagues.
Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation funded the study.