Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that puts you at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It’s also called insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X. When you have metabolic syndrome, your body can’t use insulin properly, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. High blood sugar triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol levels also increase your risk for developing heart disease and other health problems. Metabolic syndrome isn’t the same as Type 2 diabetes, but it increases the likelihood you’ll develop it later in life.
Why it is important to know about Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a serious condition that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. As the name suggests, it involves multiple metabolic changes in your body. Metabolic Syndrome is often caused by poor diet and lack of exercise in adults, but it can also be genetic. The good news is that this condition can be prevented by eating healthy and exercising regularly. The bad news? If you have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome or are having symptoms of the disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels) then there is no time to waste! You should see your doctor immediately so they can recommend treatment options for you that will help keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome can be present in people who are otherwise healthy or in those with another medical condition.
The main features of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar concentration (hyperglycemia), high triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL cholesterol and overweight/obesity. Some people may also have low levels of LDL-cholesterol.
What are the risk factors for developing Metabolic Syndrome?
High blood pressure
High blood sugar (glucose)
High cholesterol (LDL and triglyceride) levels in the blood. These are fats that can build up in your arteries and make them hard, narrow, and more likely to get clogged.
Liver disease caused by fatty liver disease, a buildup of fat in liver cells that can be caused by alcohol abuse or being overweight. If you have metabolic syndrome and high levels of insulin resistance, this condition is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). A doctor may diagnose you with NASH if you have obesity; other risk factors for fatty liver include having diabetes or high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or diabetes; smoking; or excessive alcohol use. This condition can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver over time.
What are the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?
Waist circumference: A waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is considered abnormal.
Blood pressure: Blood pressure readings over 130/85 are considered abnormal, as well as readings taken after age 60 that are higher than your baseline measurements in your 20s or 30s.
Blood sugar: A fasting blood glucose level of 100 mg/dl or higher is normally considered abnormal; however, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 mg/dl and 125 mg/dl may also be indicative of metabolic syndrome if you have two other risk factors (such as increased waist circumference and high triglycerides).
Triglycerides: Triglyceride levels above 150 mg/dL indicate a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease down the road.
HDL cholesterol: Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “good” kind — when combined with three or more other risk factors can indicate metabolic syndrome.
How is Metabolic Syndrome diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have 3 or more of the following symptoms:
Abdominal obesity – A waist measurement of 40 inches or greater for men and 35 inches or greater for women.
Triglycerides – 150 mg/dL or higher (1.69 mmol/L)
HDL cholesterol – Less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) in men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.29 mmol/L) in women when fasting; otherwise, it should be at least 1 SD below the mean value in young healthy adults of that sex and age.
Blood pressure – 130 mmHg systolic and 85 mmHg diastolic on two different occasions with either number being elevated; or being treated for hypertension; or being hypertensive but not controlled in spite of treatment
How is Metabolic Syndrome treated?
Here are some lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of Metabolic Syndrome:
Weight loss and exercise. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to manage metabolic syndrome. Even with modest weight loss, you may see improvement in your risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. If you’re overweight or have already been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, losing 5–10% of your starting body weight can improve your overall health by reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
Stop smoking if you smoke cigarettes. Smoking increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and many cancers including lung cancer — all factors linked with metabolic syndrome. Even quitting briefly reduces these risks by half within 1 month after quitting smoking completely (American Heart Association).
Get enough sleep every night — at least 7 hours a night for most adults! Sleep deprivation can increase blood sugar levels over time which could lead to type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (American Academy of Sleep Medicine).
Why should I stay informed about Metabolic Syndrome?
By staying informed, you can learn more about Metabolic Syndrome and its related conditions. This will help you understand the risks of developing certain health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome or think you may be at risk of developing it, talk with your doctor as soon as possible.
Staying informed can help you recognize and treat it.
Staying informed is one of the best ways to help yourself, your loved ones, and your community. It’s important to be aware of how you can treat metabolic syndrome if it’s a problem for you—and that means staying up-to-date on the latest research.
You might not be able to cure yourself completely, but with proper treatment and education you’ll be able to manage symptoms better.
Your doctor will help you with any questions or concerns you have about your condition, so don’t hesitate asking them if something isn’t clear!