Insulin Resistance Syndrome

Insulin Resistance Syndrome

The importance of treating patients with the metabolic syndrome-commonly referred to as the insulin resistance syndrome-for the purpose of preventing cardiovascular disease was highlighted in ATP III (the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults). Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) were analyzed to determine the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the United States. NHANES III was conducted during 1988-1994 and provided data on 8,814 noninstitutionalized men and women older than 19 years of age.
According to the ATP III criteria, a person has the metabolic syndrome if he or she has three or more of the following: waist circumference >102 cm in men and >88 cm in women; serum triglycerides level &ge;150 mg/dL (&ge;1.69 mmol/L); HDL-C <40 mg/dL (<1.04 mmol/L) in men and <50 mg/dL (<1.29 mmol/L) in women; BP &ge;130/85 mm Hg; or serum glucose level &ge;110 mg/dL (&ge;6.1 mmol/L).

The overall, age-adjusted prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was found to be 23.7%. The age-specific prevalence increased from 20 to 69 years of age and then dropped slightly. It was 6.7% for subjects in their 20s, 43.5% for those in their 60s, and 42.0% for those 70 years of age or older. When analyzed by race or ethnicity, the age-adjusted prevalence among Mexican Americans (31.9%) was higher than that for whites, African Americans, or "others." Overall, men and women had comparable age-adjusted prevalences, 24% for men and 23.4% for women. In both the African American and Mexican American groups, the prevalence was higher for women than for men.

On the basis of year 2000 census data, it was calculated that some 47 million persons in the United States have the insulin resistance syndrome, a fact that will greatly affect the healthcare system.

The above summary is adapted from the cited reference.

Ford ES, Giles WH, Dietz WH. Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome Among US Adults: Findings From the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA. 2002;287:356-359.


Last Modified: 2/5/2013