Background: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, including silent brain infarction. No study has examined its association with the lacunar subtype. The present cross sectional study examined the relationship between MetS, its components and silent lacunar infarction (SLI) in middle aged subjects.
Methods: We studied 2076 subjects aged 40–59 years with no history of stroke or clinical symptoms, who visited a health care facility for a routine health checkup and underwent brain MRI. MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Programme Adult Treatment Panel III report. A multiple logistic regression model was used to examine the associations between MetS and SLI while adjusting for age, gender, a past history of ischaemic heart disease and current smoking.
Results: MetS was strongly associated with the presence of SLI (adjusted OR 6.52; 95% CI 4.30 to 9.90). Regarding MetS components, elevated blood pressure, impaired fasting glucose, hypertriglyceridaemia and large waist circumference were significantly associated with SLI, independent of an interrelationship between the components, while low high density lipoprotein cholesterol was not significantly associated.
Conclusions: MetS was significantly associated with the prevalence of SLI in middle aged persons. Independent risk factors for SLI not only included elevated blood pressure and impaired fasting glucose, which are well known risk factors, but also hypertriglyceridaemia and large waist circumference.
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