Background: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) remains a controversial entity. Specific clusters of MetS components - rather than MetS per se - are associated with accelerated arterial ageing and with cardiovascular (CV) events. To investigate whether the distribution of clusters of MetS components differed cross-culturally, we studied 34,821 subjects from 12 cohorts from 10 European countries and one cohort from the USA in the MARE (Metabolic syndrome and Arteries REsearch) Consortium. Methods: In accordance with the ATP III criteria, MetS was defined as an alteration three or more of the following five components: elevated glucose (G), fasting glucose ≥110 mg/dl; low HDL cholesterol, <40mg/dl for men or <50 mg/dl for women; high triglycerides (T), ≥150 mg/dl; elevated blood pressure (B), ≥130/≥85 mmHg; abdominal obesity (W), waist circumference >102 cm for men or >88 cm for women. Results: MetS had a 24.3% prevalence (8468 subjects: 23.9% in men vs. 24.6% in women, p<0.001) with an ageassociated increase in its prevalence in all the cohorts. The age-adjusted prevalence of the clusters of MetS components previously associated with greater arterial and CV burden differed across countries (p<0.0001) and in men and women (p<0.0001). In details, the cluster TBW was observed in 12% of the subjects with MetS, but was far more common in the cohorts from the UK (32.3%), Sardinia in Italy (19.6%), and Germany (18.5%) and less prevalent in the cohorts from Sweden (1.2%), Spain (2.6%), and the USA (2.5%). The cluster GBW accounted for 12.7% of subjects with MetS with higher occurrence in Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, and Portugal: 31.4, 18.4, and 17.1% respectively) and in Belgium (20.4%), than in Northern Europe (Germany, Sweden, and Lithuania: 7.6, 9.4, and 9.6% respectively). Conclusions: The analysis of the distribution of MetS suggested that what follows under the common definition of MetS is not a unique entity rather a constellation of cluster of MetS components, likely selectively risky for CV disease, whose occurrence differs across countries.

Blood pressure, epidemiology, Europe, glucose, HDL cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, triglycerides, waist circumference,
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Scuteri, A, Laurent, S, Cucca, F, Cockcroft, J.R, Cunha, P.G, Rodríguez-Mañas, L, … Nilsson, P. (2015). Metabolic syndrome across Europe: Different clusters of risk factors. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 22(4), 486–491. doi:10.1177/2047487314525529