Utility of the metabolic syndrome in black people of the African Diaspora Book Chapter

cited authors

  • Gaillard, T

fiu authors


  • The Metabolic Syndrome (Mets) is a constellation of risk factors that are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes There are five components of Mets (waist circumference >102 cm (40 inches) in men and > 88 cm (35 inches) in women;serum triglycerides =150 mg/dl or above;HDL cholesterol =40mg/dl in men and =50mg/dl in women;blood pressure =130/85mmHg;and fasting glucose =100 mg/dl). Having 3 or more of any criteria is considered MetS. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) or Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III requires any three of the five components to define Mets. Using these criteria, African Americans and People of African Ancestry (PAA) have a lower prevalence rate of MetS than whites. This biological phenomenon appears to be consistent with blacks across the African Diaspora regardless of country of origin or geographical location. The lower MetS in African Americans is paradoxical because African Americans manifest disproportionately a much higher cardiovascular diseases and the associated morbidity and mortality than other racial populations. Insulin resistance is regarded as the major underpinning of MetS in various ethnic/racial populations. We and others have reported that African Americans are more insulin resistant when compared to whites. However, the relationships between insulin resistance and MetS and its components in African Americans are inconsistent and weak at best. The well recognized lipid and lipoprotein abnormalities i.e. the high serum triglycerides and low HDL-C associated with insulin resistance in white Americans and other high risk populations do not apply to PAA. Nevertheless, and paradoxically, despite the greater insulin resistance, African Americans have a lower prevalence rate of MetS than whites. This paradox has been attributed in part to higher HDL-C and lower serum triglyceride levels when compared to whites. Therefore, the purpose of the current review is to discuss the implications of MetS and its components relative to cardiovascular diseases in African Americans and blacks across the African Diaspora. © 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • November 1, 2012

start page

  • 211

end page

  • 228