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01-10-2009 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Metabolic syndrome independent risk factor for arterial stiffness in Japanese


Free abstract

MedWire News: The metabolic syndrome is associated with increased arterial stiffness in the general Japanese population, independent of other atherogenic risk factors, researchers report.

The metabolic syndrome and its components have been associated with arterial stiffness and cardiovascular disease, but this relationship has not been fully investigated in the general Japanese population, for which a specific set of diagnostic criteria for the metabolic syndrome are available.

Using brachial ankle pulse wave velocity (PWV) as a noninvasive indicator of arterial stiffness, Hiroki Satoh and colleagues (Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan) analyzed the relationship between metabolic syndrome and the severity of arterial stiffness in 2744 male and 358 female employees of two companies receiving an annual health checkup between April 2007 and March 2008.

The participants underwent a full physical examination, completed a health questionnaire, and provided blood samples for analysis.

Diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome was based on new Japanese criteria that include a waist circumference of at least 85 cm in men and 80 cm in women with at least two cardiovascular risk factors.

The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in Japanese men and women was 22.7% and 7.8%, respectively. The approximately three-fold higher prevalence in men is in line with the 2004 metabolic syndrome prevalence rates reported in the US National Health and Nutrition survey.

Significantly higher brachial ankle PWV was observed in Japanese people with the metabolic syndrome than those without. The values were 1444 cm/second versus 1294 cm/second in men and 1379 cm/second versus 1220 cm/second in women.

Metabolic syndrome remained a significant risk for increased arterial stiffness even after multiple logistic regression analysis to adjust for other risk factors and was associated with odds ratios for increased brachial ankle PWV of 3.65 in men and 8.02 in women.

Brachial ankle PWV is an indirect measure of arterial stiffness, but the authors acknowledge that they did not examine for structural changes in the arterial wall using ultrasound technology. Additional study limitations were that the use of antihypertensive and lipid-lowering medications was not determined, and that only a small number of women were included in the study.

“This study has identified metabolic syndrome as a significant and independent risk factor for increased arterial stiffness in both male and female subjects. As such, metabolic syndrome should be recognized to have a crucial impact on public health in the general Japanese population,” conclude the authors in the journal Hypertension Research.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Jenny Grice