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Cardio-Vascular

Blocked arteries in young adults with metabolic syndrome

13 years, 11 months ago

1613  0
Posted on Aug 19, 2005, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels that raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes -- is an important marker of silent or "subclinical" atherosclerosis in young, otherwise healthy adults, a study shows.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels that raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes -- is an important marker of silent or "subclinical" atherosclerosis in young, otherwise healthy adults, a study shows.

Atherosclerosis is defined as the build-up of fatty plaques in arteries that inhibit blood flow, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Previous studies have shown that metabolic syndrome is associated with silent atherosclerosis and increased cardiovascular risk in older and middle-aged adults. The present study demonstrates that these risk associations are also at work in young adults, Dr. Wendy S. Tzou from University Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin and colleagues point out.

The finding supports the "importance of screening and early intervention" in young adults with metabolic syndrome, they write in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Among 507 nondiabetic subjects with a mean age of 32 in the Bogalusa Heart Study, a longitudinal study of atherosclerosis in young adults, 67 (13 percent) met World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for metabolic syndrome and 65 (13 percent) met the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Ultrasound examinations showed that young adults with metabolic syndrome had thicker neck arteries, an indicator of atherosclerosis, compared with young adults without metabolic syndrome. So-called carotid intima-media thickness increased with the number of components of the metabolic syndrome present.

The study shows that the "burden of subclinical atherosclerosis in young adults increases with an increasing burden of components of metabolic syndrome," according to the team. High blood pressure and low levels of HDL cholesterol -- the good cholesterol -- are especially powerful predictors of increased carotid intima-media thickness, the team reports.

"Because metabolic syndrome characteristics and the magnitude of subclinical atherosclerosis are modifiable, they might be appropriate for intervention in young adults," Tzou and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Journal American College of Cardiology, August 2, 2005.

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