BACKGROUND: Metabolic syndrome is a frequent condition that has been linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Metabolic syndrome has been extensively shown to increase the risk of chronic nephropathies in Americans and Asians, but not in European populations. Renal disease increases the risk of CVD and mortality. However, the chronic nephropathy-CVD liaison has not been analyzed in the framework of the possible role of metabolic syndrome in both. METHODS: We analyzed data from 3,757 subjects participating in the INCIPE survey (Initiative on Nephropathy, of relevance to public health, which is Chronic, possibly in its Initial stages, and carries a Potential risk of major clinical End-points), a cross-sectional study enrolling subjects from the general population in the Veneto region in Italy, and calculated the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the association between metabolic syndrome, and/or chronic kidney disease (CKD) and albuminuria, and/or previous CVD after adjustment for confounding factors. RESULTS: Metabolic syndrome is associated with CKD (OR 2.17; P<0.001) and albuminuria (OR 2.28; P<0.001) and CVD (OR 1.58; P=0.002). There is a direct correlation between number of metabolic syndrome traits and nephropathy and CVD. CVD and nephropathies are associated even after adjustment for metabolic syndrome (OR 2.30; P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In a homogeneous Caucasian European population, metabolic syndrome is associated with CKD and albuminuria, and CVD. Although metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for both CVD and nephropathy, it does not entirely explain the dangerous CVD-nephropathy liaison.
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