A new study shows that the metabolic syndrome, a potentially fatal mix of factors that can boost heart disease, stroke and diabetes risk, affects more than one third of US adults aged 20 to 39, and nearly a half of those that are 60 or older.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that include obesity, excess blood sugar and triglycerides, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These factors usually lead to heart problems, heightened risk of stroke and diabetes later in life.
Scientists from the Alameda Health System-Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif, found that metabolic syndrome prevalence is high in both young adults (18 percent) and seniors aged 60 or more (46 percent).
The study was published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers cautioned that the trend could get even worse as U.S. population is aging.
The minority group that was most affected by the syndrome was the Latino community, followed by Whites and African-Americans.
Dr. Robert Wong, the lead author of the study, said that the findings on minority groups were “fascinating” because they could help researchers identify faster the factors that fuel the U.S.metabolic syndrome epidemic.
Also, the findings can help health care providers to tackle the disease and manage it better in high-risk groups.
Yet, researchers noted that metabolic syndrome is not on an ascendant trend anymore, but figures are still concerning because of the long-term health consequences they imply. Besides heart disease and diabetes, metabolic disease can also generate fatty liver disease that could result in liver cancer.
According to study authors, fatty liver disease that is not caused by alcohol use is set to become the most common type of chronic liver disease among Americans.
Dr. Wong also said that the findings could help get a larger picture on the real cause of heart disease, stroke risk and diabetes. Until now, doctors have assessed these conditions by separately analyzing one or two of the factors that form metabolic disease. Researchers believe that the components of the syndrome need to be analyzed together.
The research team also noticed a 2 percent spike in the occurrence of metabolic syndrome among Americans in the past decade. They believe that the spike is linked to a rise in obesity cases.
Dr. Wong cautioned that the current prevalence of the syndrome which affects “a huge proportion” of adult population could later translate into other negative consequences such as heart and liver disease, stroke risk and even premature death.
Image Source: Scrape TV