Background: The worldwide obesity epidemic has focused attention on the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, which is greater than previously believed. However, estimates of its overall prevalence vary widely. We wished to ascertain the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the Veteran Affairs Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS). Methods: We used the VA computerized clinical database and modified Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) criteria of fasting blood glucose (FBG) ≥110 mg/dL, blood pressure ≥130/≥85, triglyceride ≥150 mg/dL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) <40 mg/dL (men) or <50 mg/dL (women), but body mass index (BMI) ≥30 in lieu of waist circumference >102 cm (40 inches) for men and 88 cm (35 inches) for women. We also accepted current pharmacotherapy for diabetes as qualifying for elevated fasting blood sugar (FBS); current therapy with niacin, gemfibrozil, or fenofibrate for elevated triglyceride concentrations; and recent use of multiple International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision (ICD-9) codes for hypertension for elevated blood pressure. Results: We examined all clinical records for veterans registered in VANCHCS who filled any prescription between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005 (n = 51,026). Their average age was 63 years; 93 were male. In all 25 (n = 13,010) were diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome by meeting at least 3 of the above 5 criteria. Because only 60 (n = 30,727) of the population had data for 3 or more criteria, the actual percent with metabolic syndrome is probably substantially higher. Conclusions: Over one quarter of veterans in the VANCHCS may have metabolic syndrome based on our modified ATP III criteria. We urge screening more veterans with fasting laboratory testing. Computerized screening of a large clinical database can provide an effective strategy to aid clinicians in identifying more patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Internal Medicine