OBJECTIVE— The present study aimed at prospectively evaluating carotid atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (CHD) in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— Within a prospective population-based survey examining 888 subjects aged 40–79 years, 303 subjects were identified as fulfilling World Health Organization (WHO) criteria and 158 as fulfilling the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-Adult Treatment Panel (ATP)-III criteria for diagnosing the metabolic syndrome. The 5-year change in carotid status, as assessed by echo-duplex scanning, and incident fatal and nonfatal CHD, as assessed by medical history and death certificates, were compared in subjects with the metabolic syndrome and in the rest of the sample (control subjects). RESULTS— Compared with the control subjects, subjects with the metabolic syndrome by WHO criteria had an increased 5-year incidence and progression of carotid atherosclerosis: 51 vs. 35% developed new plaques (P 0.021) and 34 vs. 19% developed carotid stenosis 40% (P 0.002) after adjusting for several confounders. Subjects with the metabolic syndrome by these criteria also had an increased incidence of CHD during follow-up: 8 vs. 3% in control subjects (P 0.012). Similar results were found when the NCEP-ATPIII criteria were used. CONCLUSIONS— Subjects with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for both progressive carotid atherosclerosis and CHD.
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