Limited data are available on the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in elderly people (aged 70 years and over) at population level in Northern Europe. A study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence of MetS and its components in an aging population by using different definitions.
A cross-sectional study of 539 inhabitants from Northern Finland (mean age 71.9 years) was conducted to investigate the prevalence of MetS, by using the definitions of MetS by the National Cholesterol Education Panel (NCEP), the modified NCEP (NCEPm), and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Prevalence of MetS by the NCEP, NCEP modified, and IDF criteria.
Overall, the prevalence of MetS was 24.7%, 35.2%, and 37.2% in men, by NCEP, modified NCEP, and IDF-definitions, respectively. In women the corresponding figures were 20.9%, 33.1%, and 47.8%. Hypertension was the most common component in both men (91.8%) and women (89.0%) by the IDF criteria. Glucose abnormalities were particularly prevalent in men (53.2% by NCEP and 78.4% by IDF criteria).
The most common component was hypertension in both genders. Lower waist-circumference cut-off points of the IDF criteria led to a higher prevalence of MetS particularly in women. Prevalence of MetS varied significantly when measured by different definitions. Nearly half of older women met the IDF definition of MetS, which was more than twofold when compared with NCEP. Clinical practitioners should be aware of the limitations when using set criteria of MetS, in contrast to identifying the individual cardiovascular risk factors and the accumulation of these.