Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome and syndrome X, is a condition in which a person has three or more risk factors for developing heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems, like heart attacks and strokes. Risk factors include:
Being Overweight or Obese with a Large Waistline
Abdominal obesity means there is too much fat being carried around the waistline. People with abdominal obesity are described as having an “apple” body shape: for men, a waistline that measures greater than 40 inches; for women, a waistline that measures greater than 35 inches.
Having High Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater is higher than normal.
Having Low High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol Level
If your HDL level is less than 40 mg/dL, it means your level of “good” cholesterol is low.
Having High Blood Pressure
Having 130/80 mmHg blood pressure or greater is high.
Having a High Fasting Blood Sugar
If your fasting blood sugar is 100 mg/dL or greater, it means you have a higher than normal amount of sugar in your blood.
People of increased age, women, women with a history of the polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Hispanics/Latinos are also at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Experts agree this condition is becoming more common particularly because of the rise of obesity in adults. Metabolic syndrome may overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease.
Screening & Prevention
The best ways to prevent metabolic syndrome is to have routine visits with your primary care provider. Blood tests are often ordered at these visits that measure levels of total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides; you will also get your blood pressure checked. Additionally, you should adopt a heart-healthy diet and incorporate lifestyle changes that promote .
If you have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome or have risk factors that could increase your chance of developing metabolic syndrome, remember:
If lifestyle changes are not enough, you may need to take medications. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn about your options.
FamilyDoctor, “Metabolic Syndrome,” https://familydoctor.org/condition/metabolic-syndrome/?adfree=true
MedlinePlus, “Metabolic Syndrome,” https://medlineplus.gov/metabolicsyndrome.html National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Metabolic Syndrome,” https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome