||Early detection and appropriate treatment of metabolic syndrome (MetS) can modify cardiometabolic risk factors and prevent cardiovascular disease. Optimal screening outcomes require follow-up management of MetS.
To investigate the natural course of events in the first year after positive screening for MetS in primary care with regard to follow-up behavior, medication prescription and lifestyle changes.
Screening of 1721 apparently healthy primary care patients (20-70 years old) detected 473 new MetS cases. These people were asked to contact their general practice for subsequent advice and treatment. Data about follow-up behavior of the screening participants and prescription of cardiovascular medication were collected from the electronic medical file, and changes in lifestyle were collected by the practice nurse.
Of the 424 participants with screen-detected MetS for whom data about follow-up were available, 306 (72.2%) spontaneously contacted the practice. Antihypertensive, lipid-lowering and blood glucose-lowering medications were prescribed in 21.5%, 21.2% and 1.9% of the participants, respectively. Half of the participants for whom data about self-reported lifestyle changes were available reported to have increased their physical activity; 16.9% of the smokers quit smoking. Average weight loss was 2.1kg.
Screening for MetS followed by the advice to contact the general practice for lifestyle counseling and treatment had a substantial spontaneous follow-up. Although the changes in physical activity, weight loss and smoking abstinence are promising, further research will have to demonstrate whether they are sustainable.