Metabolic Syndrome in Middle Age Increases Risk of Premature Death by 30%, Study Finds

Metabolic Syndrome in Middle Age Increases Risk of Premature Death by 30%, Study Finds


In Amsterdam, a recent study has highlighted the significant consequences of gaining weight during middle age.

According to research findings, individuals who accumulate extra pounds in their 40s and 50s face an almost one-third higher risk of early death compared to those who maintain a slim physique.

This risk increase is particularly notable for people with slightly elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels.

The study, which focused on around 34,000 participants in their middle age, aimed to assess whether asymptomatic individuals with metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity) were more susceptible to cardiovascular disease-related deaths.

The research was carried out through a cardiovascular screening program conducted in Sweden between 1990 and 1999.


Participants’ physical measurements, including height, weight, waist and hip circumference, along with blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, were recorded.

Lifestyle habits, medical history, and socio-economic factors were also considered.

Metabolic syndrome was identified in individuals with three or more of the following criteria: waist circumference exceeding 102cm for men or 88cm for women, total cholesterol levels of 6.1 mmol/l or higher, systolic blood pressure equal to or above 130 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 85 mmHg, and fasting plasma glucose levels of 5.6 mmol/l or higher.

Of the participants, 15 percent met these criteria and were compared against a healthier control group of 10,168 individuals.

After adjusting for factors such as physical activity, BMI, and living conditions, researchers observed that those with metabolic syndrome were significantly more likely to experience cardiac events within the subsequent three decades.


The data showed that more than a quarter (26 percent) of those with metabolic syndrome died, in contrast to a fifth (19 percent) of their healthier counterparts.

This marked a 30 percent higher likelihood of death for the former group.

Furthermore, individuals with metabolic syndrome were found to be 35 percent more likely to experience non-fatal heart attacks and strokes.

The average time to the first nonfatal heart attack or stroke was approximately 2.3 years earlier for those with metabolic syndrome.

These findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam.


Dr. Lena Lönnberg of Västmanland County Hospital, Sweden, emphasized the importance of health awareness, especially in individuals who may not exhibit symptoms.

She advised regular health checks, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy waist circumference, and staying physically active.

The study underscores the significance of monitoring health metrics early in adulthood.

Small increases in blood pressure, waist measurements, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, even if they seem insignificant, can significantly impact the future risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The findings suggest that simple lifestyle changes, such as balanced eating habits, regular physical activity, and abstaining from smoking, can contribute to reducing these risks.


When lifestyle modifications are insufficient, medical professionals can offer guidance on medications to mitigate risk factors.

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