METABOLIC SYNDROME

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur all together and increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight or obesity and inactivity. It’s also linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Normally, your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into sugar (glucose). Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps sugar enter your cells to be used as fuel.

Most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms, although a large waist circumference is a visible sign. If your blood sugar is very high, you might have signs and symptoms of diabetes — including increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.

DIAGNOSIS

Several organizations have criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome. According to guidelines used by the National Institutes of Health, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these traits or are taking medication to control them:

  • Large waist circumference — a waistline that measures at least 35 inches (89 centimeters) for women and 40 inches (102 centimeters) for men
  • High triglyceride level — 150 milligrams per deciliter,(mg/dL), or 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or higher of this type of fat found in blood
  • Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) in men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women of this “good” cholesterol
  • Increased blood pressure — 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar — 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or higher

 

TREATMENT

If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

If this is not enough, your doctor might suggest medications to help control your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose.

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