Metabolic syndrome increases a person’s risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a longitudinal study of Chinese individuals. The more metabolic syndrome components a person has, the greater their CKD risk.

In a nationally representative sample of 4,248 Chinese adults in Taiwan, 637 individuals (15%) had metabolic syndrome at baseline. During a median follow-up of 5.4 years, CKD developed in 208 subjects (4.9%). After adjusting for multiple variables, participants with metabolic syndrome had a 42% increased risk for CKD compared with subjects who did not have the syndrome, the investigators reported in Nephrology (2012;17:532-538). The researchers, led by Chien-An Sun, MD, of Fu-Jen Catholic University in New Taipei, found that as the number of metabolic syndrome components increased, so did CKD risk.

Additionally, the association between metabolic syndrome and CKD risk was stronger in subjects with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 27.5 kg/m2 than in those with a lower BMI. Among individuals with a BMI greater than 27.5, the presence of metabolic syndrome was associated with a 2.2 times increased risk of CKD compared with the absence of the syndrome, in adjusted analyses. By comparison, among participants with a BMI below 22.6 and from 22.6-27.5, the presence of metabolic syndrome was associated with a 14% and 3% increased risk of CKD, respectively, compared with the absence of the syndrome.

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The researchers defined metabolic syndrome as the presence of three or more of the following: blood pressure of at least 130/85 mm Hg or the use of antihypertensive medication; serum triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or higher or the use of drugs to treat elevated triglycerides; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels below 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women or the use of medication to treat reduced HDL-C; fasting plasma glucose levels of 100 mg/dL or greater or the use of medication to treat elevated glucose levels; and waist circumference greater than 90 cm in men and 80 cm in women.