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Original Research: COPD |

The Metabolic Syndrome in Patients With Chronic Bronchitis and COPD: Frequency and Associated Consequences for Systemic Inflammation and Physical Inactivity

Henrik Watz, MD; Benjamin Waschki, MD; Anne Kirsten, MD; Kai-Christian Müller, PhD; Gunther Kretschmar, MD; Thorsten Meyer, PhD; Olaf Holz, PhD; Helgo Magnussen, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: From the Pulmonary Research Institute at Hospital Grosshansdorf (Drs. Watz, Waschki, Kirsten, Kretschmar, and Magnussen), Hospital Grosshansdorf, Center for Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (Drs. Watz, Waschki, Müller, Holz, and Magnussen), Hospital Grosshansdorf, Grosshansdorf, Germany; and the Institute of Social Medicine (Dr. Meyer), Medical University Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.

Correspondence to: Henrik Watz, MD, Pulmonary Research Institute, Center for Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery, Hospital Grosshansdorf, Woehrendamm 80, D-22927 Grosshansdorf, Germany; e-mail: h.watz@pulmoresearch.de


The work was performed at the Pulmonary Research Institute at Hospital Grosshansdorf, Center for Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery, Grosshansdorf, Germany.

This study was supported by Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord, the Dr. Fritz Meyer Struckmann Foundation, and an unrestricted research grant from AstraZeneca.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(4):1039-1046. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0393
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Background:  The metabolic syndrome is a condition frequently found among individuals > 60 years of age. It predisposes affected individuals to systemic inflammation and physical inactivity. Systemic inflammation and physical inactivity are relevant extrapulmonary markers of morbidity and mortality in patients with COPD. Here, we studied the following: (1) the frequency of the coexisting metabolic syndrome in patients with chronic bronchitis (CB) and COPD of different severities; and (2) its association with systemic inflammation and physical inactivity.

Methods:  In 30 patients with CB (normal spirometry finding) and in 170 patients with COPD (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease [GOLD] stages I to IV), we measured the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, systemic inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hs-CRP], interleukin-6, fibrinogen), and the physical activity level.

Results:  The frequencies of the metabolic syndrome in patients with CB, GOLD stages I, II, III, and IV, were 53%, 50%, 53%, 37%, and 44%, respectively (average, 47.5%). The levels of hs-CRP and interleukin-6 were significantly increased in patients with the metabolic syndrome, while the physical activity level was significantly decreased. Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed metabolic syndrome, physical activity level, and CB/GOLD stages to be independent predictors of hs-CRP and interleukin-6 levels, and physical activity level to be a predictor of fibrinogen levels.

Conclusions:  In our study, almost one-half of the patients with CB/COPD had coexisting metabolic syndrome, with a slightly lower frequency in patients with severe COPD. The coexisting metabolic syndrome is associated with an increase in the levels of some systemic inflammatory markers and physical inactivity, independent of lung function impairment.

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