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Study Shows High Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Cardiovascular Risk in Older HIV Patients

Metabolic abnormalities and cardiovascular disease are a growing concern for HIV positive people, but there is a lack of specific data about patients older than 50 years of age, who now account for some 25% of all HIV cases in the U.S. As described in the December 1, 2008 issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs, Oluwatoyin Adeyemi and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence and predictors of the metabolic syndrome among a cohort of older HIV-infected patients, as well as their 10-year Framingham cardiac risk scores.

The metabolic syndrome refers to a variety to factors -- including abnormal blood lipid levels, insulin resistance, abdominal fat accumulation, and high blood pressure -- associated with elevated risk of heart disease.

The analysis included 121 patients older than 50 years (median 54 years) in the CORE50 Cohort, followed at the CORE Center at Cook County Hospital in Chicago between May 2005 and February 2006. Most (79%) were men, 83% were African-American, 9% were Hispanic, and 6% were Caucasian.


  • 34% of the patients had the metabolic syndrome.
  • 49% had a moderate-high (> 10%) 10-year Framingham cardiac risk, while 13% had a high (> 20%) risk.
  • Patients with the metabolic syndrome were significantly more likely to have a Framingham cardiac risk greater than 20%.
  • 65% of all patients, and 55% of patients with the metabolic syndrome, were current smokers.
  • Women and men were about equally likely to have the metabolic syndrome, but there were significant differences in components of the syndrome according to sex:

Women had significantly more components related to insulin resistance, such as elevated waist circumference and diabetes.

Men were more likely to have low high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol levels.

"This study shows a high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in older HIV-infected patients and an association between the metabolic syndrome and Framingham cardiac risk in our study population," the study authors concluded.

"As the HIV population ages, attention to modifiable cardiac risk factors will become increasingly important," they added.

CORE Center, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.



O Adeyemi, K Rezai, M Bahk, and others. Metabolic Syndrome in Older HIV-Infected Patients: Data from the CORE50 Cohort. AIDS Patient Care and STDs 22(12): 941-945. December 1, 2008. (Abstract).