Prevalence of overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome components in multiple sclerosis patients with significant disability

O. Pinhas-Hamiel, M. Livne, G. Harari, A. Achiron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Information about metabolic comorbidities in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is scarce. Our aim was to examine the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in patients with long duration of MS and significant disability. Methods: Demographic and clinical data, weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure, and levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were obtained from 130 MS patients with Extended Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score ≥3.0. Results: Seventy-two percent were female, mean ± SD age 55.8 ± 6.0, range 45-65 years, disease duration 18.2 ± 10.1 years, EDSS 5.5 ± 1.0. Obesity [body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2] was present in 18.5% and overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) in 34.6%. The prevalence of the MetS was 30% with no gender difference. Fifty-six percent had central obesity by waist circumference, 28% treated hypertension, 45.8% elevated blood pressure, 11% type 2 diabetes mellitus, 31.4% treated dyslipidemia, 28.8% elevated triglyceride levels and 31.4% had low HDL-C. MS patients with MetS were significantly older (59.0 ± 5.5 vs. 53.8 ± 5.5, P < 0.0001) and heavier (BMI 29.0 ± 6.9 vs. 25.1 ± 4.7, P = 0.0009). There were no differences between the groups in neurological disability by the EDSS (5.7 ± 1.0 vs. 5.4 ± 1.0), disease duration (18.4 ± 9.9 vs. 18.2 ± 10.2 years) and number of steroid courses received (6.6 ± 9.5 vs. 6.3 ± 8.4). Conclusions: Compared to the general population, adult disabled MS patients had lower rates of obesity and overweight, as assessed by BMI. Despite these reduced rates, the prevalence of the MetS was similar to the general population. Specifically higher rates of increased waist circumference were found, suggesting that the lower BMI may be misleading in terms of health risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1279
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 EAN.


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Waist circumference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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