The metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors which are related to insulin resistance. Beyond the importance of each separate risk factor, the aggregation of abdominal obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, dyslipidemia and hypertension, summarized as the metabolic syndrome, characterizes individuals with a significant increase in the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In the prosperous countries of the world, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is about 20% in the adult population, and increases with increasing age, which is mainly attributed to the significant increase in overweight and obesity, also in elderly. Current data indicate that weight-loss therapy improves physical function, quality of life and the medical complications associated with obesity. This review summarizes epidemiologic data, diagnostic criteria and the clinical importance of the metabolic syndrome, the complex pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in the development of insulin resistance in elderly, and the various therapeutic options. According to these data the identification and treatment of patients with a metabolic syndrome would be an important approach to reduce morbidity and impairments in the elderly.

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