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One Third of US Adults with Metabolic Syndrome: What is it, and why worry? – Dennis Thompson

More than one-third of U.S. adults have a combination of health problems collectively known as metabolic syndrome that increase the risk of heart diseaseand diabetes, according to new research.

What’s worse, the researchers found the rate of metabolic syndrome increases dramatically with age. Almost half of people 60 or older in the United States have metabolic syndrome, the study found.

“That’s concerning, because we know the population of the U.S. is aging,” said senior author Dr. Robert Wong, an assistant clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco. “I think it will potentially place a huge burden on our health care system.”

Metabolic syndrome is a “perfect storm” of conditions that include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, increased levels of blood sugar, and a wider waist circumference, Wong said.

Medical experts are turning to metabolic syndrome as a key indicator of heart health risk. “Metabolic syndrome is a more comprehensive analysis, because it takes into account a lot of risk factors,” Wong said.

To assess the nation’s rate of metabolic syndrome, Wong and his colleagues used health data on Americans gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2003 and 2012.

The researchers concluded that 35 percent of all U.S. adults had metabolic syndrome in 2011-2012. That number is up slightly from 33 percent in 2003-2004, the researchers said.

Obesity is considered a leading factor in metabolic syndrome, and the overall rate of both conditions mirror each other, Wong said.

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