Although insulin resistance and obesity are currently considered primary factors underlying development of the metabolic syndrome, microalbuminuria and inadequate insulin secretion may also be involved. The present study is the first to examine intercorrelations among these factors in a community-based Taiwanese population. An epidemiological survey of chronic diseases conducted in 1996 was utilized to evaluate 1340 community-dwelling, nondiabetic adults. Principal component factor analyses involving varimax orthogonal rotation of transformed continuously distributed variables were performed. Sex-specific factor analyses yielded four separate factors in women (obesity/insulin resistance, lipid, blood pressure and insulin resistance/secretion factors) and three in men (obesity/insulin resistance/secretion, lipid and blood pressure factors). For men the corrected insulin response clustered with obesity, and insulin resistance loaded on the same factor, explaining 31% of variance; however, microalbuminuria was closely linked with blood pressure variables, and the corrected insulin response loaded on the same factor, explaining 13.2% of variance. Obesity and insulin resistance were confirmed as central anomalies of all features of the metabolic syndrome. The observed linkage of impaired β-cell function and microalbuminuria with the metabolic syndrome should facilitate prediction of the onset of cardiovasculometabolic disorders. Inadequate β-cell function and microalbuminuria are plausible components of the metabolic syndrome in Taiwanese subjects.
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