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Gender differences in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in 50-year-old Swedish men and women with hypertension born in 1953


To investigate potential gender differences in the role of hypertension as a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (MetS) we used a random population sample of 50-year-old men (n=595) and women (n=667; all born in 1953) who were examined in 2003–2004. Systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure values were dichotomized at 140 mm Hg and 90 mm Hg, respectively. MetS was defined using NCEP (National Cholesterol Education Programme) and IDF (International Diabetes Federation) criteria. MetS was more prevalent in men than in women (NCEP 16% versus 10%, P=0.003; IDF 26% versus 16%, P=0.000) and systolic hypertension was more common in men than in women (high SBP 24% versus 18%, P=0.003; high DBP 29% versus 24%, P=0.074). Women with high SBP had about a seven-fold increased NCEP risk compared with normotensive women (odds ratio (OR) 6.91, confidence interval (CI) 2.90–16.42), whereas high SBP in men was associated with about a three-fold increased NCEP risk (OR 2.72, CI 1.69–4.38). A similar pattern was observed for the IDF criterion of MetS. All interaction terms (sex × hypertension) were significant at P<0.01. At middle age, despite that fewer women had hypertension or MetS than men, hypertension carries a relatively greater risk for MetS in women than in men.

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This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, and the Swedish Labour Market Insurance Company. We acknowledge the statistical advice of Georgios Lappas, Statistician.

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Correspondence to M Novak.

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Novak, M., Björck, L., Welin, L. et al. Gender differences in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in 50-year-old Swedish men and women with hypertension born in 1953. J Hum Hypertens 27, 56–61 (2013).

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  • systolic blood pressure
  • diastolic blood pressure
  • metabolic syndrome
  • gender

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