What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that include too much , elevated blood pressure, , elevated blood sugar, and low HDL cholesterol.
Together, this group of health problems increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
What causes metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle that includes eating too many calories, being inactive, and gaining weight, particularly . This lifestyle can lead to , a condition in which the body is unable to respond normally to insulin. If you have insulin resistance, your body cannot use insulin properly, and your blood sugar will begin to rise. Over time, this can lead to .
What are the symptoms?
If you have metabolic syndrome, you have several disorders of the metabolism at the same time, including obesity (usually around your waist), high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and resistance to insulin.
Why is metabolic syndrome important?
This syndrome raises your risk for (CAD), even beyond that caused by high LDL cholesterol alone.1
What increases your chance of developing metabolic syndrome?
The things that make you more likely to develop metabolic syndrome include:1
- . Insulin resistance means thatyour body cannot use insulin properly.
- Abdominal obesity. This means havingtoo much fat around your waist.
- Age.Your chances of developing metabolic syndrome increase as you getolder.
- Lack of exercise. If you do not exercise, you are morelikely to be obese and develop metabolic syndrome.
- Hormoneimbalance. A hormone disorder such as (PCOS), a condition in whichthe female body produces too much of certain hormones, is associated withmetabolic syndrome.
- Family history of type 2 diabetes. Havingparents or close relatives with diabetes is associated with metabolicsyndrome.
- Weight gain, especially around your waist.
- A history of diabetes during pregnancy ().
- Race and ethnicity.African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and PacificIslanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.
How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose metabolic syndrome with a physical exam, your medical history, and some simple blood tests.
You may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the risk factors listed in the table below. Note: These criteria were developed by the American Heart Association. Other organizations may have different criteria for diagnosis.
Criteria for metabolic syndrome1
Abdominal obesity (waistmeasurement)
Men: Greater than40 in. (102 cm)
Asian men: Greater than36 in. (90 cm)
Women: Greater than35 in. (88 cm)
Asian women: Greater than32 in. (81 cm)
150 mg/dL or higher, or taking medicinefor high triglycerides
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)cholesterol
Men: Less than 40 mg/dL
Women: Less than 50 mg/dL
Or taking medicine for low HDLcholesterol
130/85 mm Hg or higher, or takingmedicine for high blood pressure
Fasting blood sugar
100 mg/dL or higher, or taking medicinefor high blood sugar
How is metabolic syndrome treated?
The main goal of treatment for is to reduce your risk of (CAD) and diabetes. The first approaches in treating metabolic syndrome are:
- Weight control. Being overweight is a majorrisk factor for CAD. Weight loss lowers LDL cholesterol and reduces all of therisk factors for metabolic syndrome.
- Physical activity. Lack ofexercise is a major risk factor for CAD. Regular physical activity reduces verylow-density lipoprotein (VLDL) levels, raises HDL cholesterol and, in somepeople, lowers LDL levels. It can also lower blood pressure, reduce insulinresistance, lower blood sugar levels, and improve heart function.
- Assessing risk category for CAD. After your risk is determined,treatment to lower LDL to appropriate levels can begin along with treatment ofother metabolic risk factors, including high blood pressure and insulinresistance.