Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions can include an increase of blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels
Researchers have found certain variables play an important role in a person’s chances of developing heart disease. These variables are called risk factors. In recent years, researchers have found that some of these heart disease risk factors cluster together in certain people. This clustering of risk factors is known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is also called Reaven syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, or Metabolic Syndrome X.
The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:
- Age. Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
- Ethnicity. In the United States, Hispanics — especially Hispanic women — appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The reasons for this are not entirely clear.
- Obesity. Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
- Diabetes. You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- Other diseases. Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome or sleep apnea.
There is still much to be learned about metabolic syndrome. Doctors do know that people with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of heart attack or coronary artery disease.
Researchers think that metabolic syndrome maybe a genetic condition. This means that the genes are passed down from one generation to the next. Underlying causes of metabolic syndrome include overweight and obesity, insulin resistance, physical inactivity, genetic factors and increasing age.
People with insulin-resistant conditions, such as diabetes and hyperinsulinemia are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot make or respond properly to the hormone insulin. Hyperinsulinemia is a condition where large amounts of insulin are pumped into the bloodstream.
What are the signs of metabolic syndrome?
The cluster of metabolic factors include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, impaired fasting glucose, high triglyceride levels, and low HDL cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome greatly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or all three.
Patients with metabolic syndrome will not feel any symptoms. But there are signs that might lead doctors to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.
Doctors can check your HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and weight, all of which are warning signs of metabolic syndrome. You may also need blood tests to measure the levels of glucose and insulin in your bloodstream.
- Regular physical activity
- Weight loss
- Healthy diet
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing or managing stress
Be sure to speak with your doctor for a regimen that will help you.