HealthDay News — Cardiometabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis, but the risk is attenuated by high fitness, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

Sae Young Jae, PhD, from the University of Seoul in South Korea, and colleagues examined whether cardiometabolic syndrome correlates with subclinical atherosclerosis in a study population of 2107 men participating in a health screening program that included coronary artery calcification (CAC) and carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) measures. Subclinical atherosclerosis was defined as CAC score >0 and a mean CIMT >75th percentile.

The researchers found that participants with cardiometabolic syndrome had higher odds ratios of having a positive CAC and CIMT (odds ratios [ORs]: 1.41 and 1.70, respectively) compared with those without cardiometabolic syndrome, after adjustment for confounding variables. 

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Compared with lower fitness, upper levels of fitness correlated with lower prevalence of CAC and CIMT (ORs: 0.69 and 0.53, respectively). Compared with fit participants without cardiometabolic syndrome, unfit participants with cardiometabolic syndrome were 1.47 and 2.35 times more likely to exhibit CAC and CIMT, respectively. ORs for the prevalence of CAC and CIMT were similar for fit participants with and without cardiometabolic syndrome.

“Our findings demonstrate that cardiometabolic syndrome is associated with an increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis but that high fitness appears to attenuate these associations in men,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Jae SY, Franklin BA, Schmidt-Trucksass A, Kim DK, Choi Y-H, Park JB. Relation of cardiorespiratory fitness to risk of subclinical atherosclerosis in men with cardiometabolic syndrome. Am J Cardiol. 2016;118(9):1282-1286. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.07.064.