Utility of metabolic syndrome as a risk enhancing factor in decision of statin use

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2 Scopus citations


Background: Statins effectively reduce risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) when 10-year risk is ≥ 7.5%. In many patients at intermediate risk (7.5-<20% risk), there is uncertainty about reliability of risk assessment by current pooled cohort equations (PCE). A decision to initiate statin therapy is favored by several risk enhancing factors not employed in PCEs. Objective: This study examines the scope of the metabolic syndrome, a risk enhancing factor, and its principal sequala, diabetes, in 26,796 US adults age 40–75 years from the NHANES survey data, 1999–2016. Methods: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome without diabetes (MetS+) and of diabetes (DM+) were determined for 10-year risk categories estimated to be low (<7.5%), intermediate (7.5% -< 20%) and high (≥20%). Data were weighted to account for complex study design. Results: 90.4% of the population was free of ASCVD. In subjects projected to be at low risk by PCEs, MetS+ was present in 15.0% and 17.6% of women and men, respectively. MetS + increased to 30.6% of women and 29.6% of men at intermediate risk, and to 21.5% of women and 32.2% of men at high risk. In addition, DM+ was present in 6.1%/5.3% (F/M) of low risk individuals, 20.1%/14.8% (F/M) of intermediate risk subjects, and 44.3%/39.4% (F/M) of high-risk persons. Prevalence of both MetS+ and DM + rose progressively with age in women and men. Conclusions: MetS+ and DM + are common multiplex risk factors that predispose to higher lifetime risk and support statin therapy in patients at intermediate and high risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Intermediate risk
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Pooled cohort equation risk
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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