Metabolic Syndrome Hurts Heart
Cluster of Common Health Conditions Linked to Heart Failure at Middle Age
WebMD News Archive
May 22, 2006 -- People who have a cluster of common medical conditions may
be nearly twice as likely to develop heart failure by middle age.
A new study followed more than 2,300 Swedish men for more than 20 years and
found those who had the cluster of common health risk factors, known
collectively as metabolic syndrome, were almost twice as likely to develop
heart failure by age 70 as those without it.
Researchers say that increased risk was independent of any other established
risk factors for heart failure, such as heart disease, a previous heart
attack, smoking, and damaged heart valves.
The results of the study were published online today ahead of scheduled
print publication in the journal Heart.
Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Heart Failure
Metabolic syndrome is a relatively new term used to describe a cluster of
common risk factors occurring at the same time -- including elevated fasting
blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood fats (triglycerides), reduced
"good" cholesterol (HDL), and obesity – that have been
linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease. The presence
of at least three of these risk factors can qualify for having metabolic
In the study, researchers looked at whether metabolic syndrome might also
contribute to heart failure in a group of more than 2,300 men who were age 50
between 1970 and 1974 and were followed until age 70. None of the men had any
history of heart failure, heart attack, or heart valve disease at the start of
The results showed that men who had metabolic syndrome at the start of the
study were 66% more likely to have heart failure by the end of the study.
The relationship between metabolic syndrome and heart failure was even
stronger after adjusting for men who had known risk factors for heart failure,
such as a heart attack during the study period. Men who had a heart attack and
other hear failure risk factors in addition to metabolic syndrome were 80% more
likely to have heart failure by age 70.
Researchers say the results suggest that metabolic syndrome may affect the
heart directly as well as contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits in the