Open Access Research article

Metabolic syndrome is associated with change in subclinical arterial stiffness - A community-based Taichung Community Health Study

Chia-Ing Li123, Sharon LR Kardia4, Chiu-Shong Liu25, Wen-Yuan Lin25, Chih-Hsueh Lin25, Yi-Dar Lee67, Fung-Chang Sung3, Tsai-Chung Li89* and Cheng-Chieh Lin259*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

2 School of Medicine, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

3 Department of Public health, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

4 Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

5 Department of Family Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

6 Department of Psychiatric, Medical College, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

7 Bristol-Myers Squibb Ltd, Global Development & Medical Affair, Taipei, Taiwan

8 Institute of Biostatistics, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

9 Department of Healthcare Administration, College of Health Science, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:808  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-808

Published: 17 October 2011



The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of MetS on arterial stiffness in a longitudinal study.


Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), a measurement interpreted as arterial stiffness, was measured in 1518 community-dwelling persons at baseline and re-examined within a mean follow-up period of 3 years. Multivariate linear regression with generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to examine the longitudinal relationship between MetS and its individual components and baPWV, while multivariate logistic regression with GEE was used to examine the longitudinal relationship between MetS and its individual components and the high risk group with arterial stiffness.


Subjects with MetS showed significantly greater baPWV at the end point than those without MetS, after adjusting for age, gender, education, hypertension medication and mean arterial pressure (MAP). MetS was associated with the top quartile of baPWV (the high-risk group of arterial stiffness, adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 1.52 [1.21-1.90]), and a significant linear trend of risk for the number of components of MetS was found (p for trend < 0.05). In further considering the individual MetS component, elevated blood pressure and fasting glucose significantly predicted a high risk of arterial stiffness (adjusted OR [95% CI] 3.72 [2.81-4.93] and 1.35 [1.08-1.68], respectively).


MetS affects the subject's progression to arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness increased as the number of MetS components increased. Management of MetS is important for preventing the progression to advanced arterial stiffness.

metabolic syndrome; pulse wave velocity; arterial stiffness