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08-11-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Metabolic syndrome linked with altered glucose tolerance


Free abstract

MedWire News: Italian researchers have found that the metabolic syndrome is common among individuals with altered glucose tolerance, and is generally associated with insulin resistance.

S Del Prato (University of Pisa) and colleagues studied 337 men and 508 women, with a mean age of 49 years, who took part in the Genetics, Pathophysiology, and Evolution of Type 2 diabetes (GENFIEV) study.

The overall prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 33% according to criteria from Cholesterol Treatment Panel Adult Treatment Panel III, and was slightly higher with the International Diabetes Federation definition.

It was identified in 19% of individuals with normal glucose tolerance, 42% of those with impaired fasting glucose, 34% with impaired glucose tolerance, 74% with both the latter two conditions, and 56% of patients with newly diagnosed diabetes.

The prevalence of insulin resistance was significantly higher in participants with the metabolic syndrome than in those without, at 63% versus 23%, respectively, and increased from 54% to 73% and 88% in the presence of three, four or five traits, respectively.

Insulin resistance was identified in 42% of individuals with non-diabetic alterations of glucose homeostasis, and was highest in those with both impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance, at 53%.

Participants with the metabolic syndrome were more insulin resistant than others, irrespective of glucose tolerance.

Hypertriglyceridemia, abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, and hypertension were all associated with insulin resistance, with corresponding odds ratios of 3.38, 3.26, 3.02, and 1.69.

Reporting in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, the researchers say: "The results of our study indicate that the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increased in impaired glucose regulation individuals and in particular in those with impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance.

"In these subjects, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was already as high as in subjects with overt Type 2 diabetes, highlighting an early increase of cardiovascular risk and emphasising the need of early preventative measures."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Anita Wilkinson