Treatment Options for Patients With the Metabolic Syndrome

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PurposeTo review clinical and laboratory findings that will enhance nurse practitioner (NP) recognition of the metabolic syndrome and to increase awareness of recent treatment guidelines and treatment options.Data SourcesProfessional association practice guidelines, government documents, original research articles, and journal articles.ConclusionsThe metabolic syndrome is a prevalent condition characterized by a cluster of lipid and nonlipid abnormalities, including atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated fasting blood glucose, hypertension, and abdominal obesity. Many persons with this syndrome are also insulin resistant. Prompt recognition and treatment of the metabolic syndrome can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Clinical guidelines recommend treating the metabolic syndrome as a secondary target of lipid-lowering therapy after addressing the primary target, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.Implications for PracticeNPs are in an instrumental position to manage treatment for patients with the metabolic syndrome by (a) evaluating risk factors, including abdominal obesity, physical inactivity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, hypertension, and elevated fasting blood glucose; (b) assisting in the modification of lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise; (c) implementing pharmacological therapy when needed; and (d) providing psychosocial support to encourage therapeutic adherence.

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