The relationship of metabolic syndrome and constitutional medicine for the prediction of cardiovascular disease

Nam H. Cho, Jong Yeol Kim, Sung Soo Kim, Chol Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of Sasang Constitutional Medicine (SCM) has been in existence in Traditional Korean Medicine for more than 100 years. SCM consists of 4 different types; So-Eum (SE), So-Yang (SY), Tae-Eum (TE), and Tae-Yang (TY). In Western medicine, it is more like stratifying individuals according to phenotypic expression. It is of great importance that the Sasang constitution type be evaluated accurately and recognized by the medical communities for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Subjects and methods From the Ansung-Ansan prospective cohort study, 10,038 participants were recruited from years 2001-2002. Of 10,038 original participants, 3022 subjects underwent Sasang Constitutional Type (SCT) evaluation. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to predict CVD during the ten year follow-up period. Results Of 3022 participants, SCT classified into 364 (12%) SE, 1053 (34.8%) SY, 1605 (53.1%) TE, and no TY. Three hundred seventy nine (16%) newly developed CVD during the following period, yielding 10-year cumulative incidence of 160/1000 person. The frequency of CVD within three SCT without metabolic syndrome (MetS) shows 13.4% in SE, 13.6% in SY, and 14.3% in TE, respectively (p = NS). The CVD events were significantly different among the types when MetS was present. The demographic and clinical characteristics revealed the TE group was significantly older, more obese, higher blood pressure, glucose values, and lipid profiles levels. The frequency of MetS and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) was also higher in TE type than either SE and SY types (all p < 0.001). The Cox proportional hazard analysis revealed age, female gender, rural residence, higher ALT level, and lower beta-cell function remain as an independent risk factor, as well as SY with MetS (RR = 1.838 (95% CI 1.23-2.74), p = 0.003). Furthermore, 10 year CVD survival rate was 86.4% in no MetS group, 83.4% in TE, 79.6% in SE, and 76.4% in SY all with MetS (p < 0.001). Conclusions The findings from this study suggest MetS increases risk for CVD in certain physical conditions like SY type. Therefore, we would like to suggest that SCT is a strong indicator for CVD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Genome Research Institute, the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (contract # 2001-347-6111-221, 2002-347-6111-221, 2003-347-6111-221, 2004-E71001-00, 2005-E71001-00, 2006-E71005-00, 2006-E71006-00, 2007-E71001-00, 2007-E71003-00, 2008-E71001-00, 2008-E71005-00, 2009-E71002-00, 2009-E71007-00, 2010-E71001-00, 2010-E71004-00, 2011-E71004-00, 2011-E71008-00, 2012-E71008-00, 2012-E71005-00), and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (No. 20110027739 ). The funding source had no role in the collection of the data or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. No other potential conflicts of interest are reported. We are grateful to the Ajou University Hospital Center for Clinical Epidemiology for conducting a quality study, data management and statistical analysis. Conflict of interest statement

Funding Information:
The objective of this study was to evaluate Korean traditional medicine, Sasang Constitutional Medicine, as key indicators for early diagnosis of CVD independent of MetS. The SCM is well defined and recognized by the Korean traditional medical profession, and has been utilized for early diagnosis and treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases for more than 100 years. However, its value as a medical tool is yet to be recognized by Western medical society, but consists of important values as a tailored medicine. Therefore, to evaluate SCM we integrated the four types into the ongoing community cohort study, which has been ongoing since 2001. This is a community-based prospective epidemiologic study and the goal is to evaluate the putative risk-factors associated with various types of non-communicable diseases. It is one of the largest community cohort studies funded by the Korean National Government, Ministry of Health and Welfare.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sasang constitutional medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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