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19-01-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Smoking and the metabolic syndrome have ‘additive effect’ on CV risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Preventative strategies to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden should simultaneously target smoking and the metabolic syndrome, say Chinese researchers.

They explain that China has a high prevalence of smoking and the metabolic syndrome; 0.35 billion people actively smoke, and 38% of men and 33% of women have at least one component of the metabolic syndrome.

The team therefore assessed the independent and combined effects of smoking and the metabolic syndrome on CVD risk among Chinese adults, aged 35-74 years, who were free from diabetes and CVD at study enrollment (between 2000 and 2004).

Out of a total 3598 participants, 903 (254 men and 649 women) had the metabolic syndrome at baseline.

During a median 6.3 years of follow up, 82 participants were diagnosed as having CVD.

Both light (1-7 cigarettes/day or 1-200 cigarettes/lifetime) and heavy smokers (≥8 cigarettes/day or ≥201 cigarettes/lifetime) had an increased risk for developing CVD compared with nonsmokers. Furthermore, there was a dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked per day and CVD incidence.

After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, alcohol consumption, family history of CVD and the metabolic syndrome, and smoking status, participants with the metabolic syndrome were 2.5-times more likely to develop CVD than those without the syndrome.

Interestingly, there was an additive interaction of current smoking and the metabolic syndrome on CVD risk; the risk for CVD among current smokers with the metabolic syndrome was 1.8-times higher than the sum of risks associated with each factor alone.

"The reason for the increased risk of CVD among current smokers with [the metabolic syndrome] is uncertain," write Zhirong Guo (Soochow University, Suzhou, China) and co-investigators.

They suggest that the "growing double epidemics" of smoking and the metabolic syndrome in China may "greatly and rapidly increase the burden of CVD," and therefore propose that preventative strategies should target both of these CV risk factors.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers