Pre-diabetes and risk of heart attack, stroke
A set of conditions known to accompany or portend type 2 diabetes, including obesity and high blood sugar, could more than double a person's risk of developing heart disease.
There has been a marked rise in obesity that is contributing to an increase in the number of people with the metabolic syndrome; a cluster of at least three of the following cardiovascular risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Thus, an increasingly large number of people are at a high cardiovascular risk. Many people with the metabolic syndrome have, or are on their way to developing, type 2 diabetes.
Researchers in Canada set out to determine how much the metabolic syndrome could increase someone's cardiovascular risk by evaluating the evidence to date after reviewing 87 studies, which included a total of nearly one million patients.
Overall, they found that metabolic syndrome increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke by two-fold or more. Patients with the syndrome also had a 50 percent increased chance of dying from any cause. The harmful effects of the metabolic syndrome appeared stronger in women compared to men, and held up even in the absence of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers were unable to fully understand how this risk differs between men and women or how much of the risk associated with the metabolic syndrome can be explained by the individual cardiovascular risk factors. The findings, nonetheless, indicate that these diseases are not isolated entities and need a "universal" approach to treatment and prevention. Of the five components of metabolic syndrome, obesity usually starts it off, followed by the development of the other four components. If obesity can be reduced, the other four tend to get better. The study concludes by emphasizing the value of regular check-ups and lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise.
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