What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome is a clustering of conditions that increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and Diabetes. The main conditions that make up Metabolic Syndrome are:
Obesity is having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is the ratio of weight divided by height. A healthy BMI is less than 25. A majority of adults in the United States are at an unhealthy weight.
Elevated blood triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. This is considered elevated if your triglyceride levels exceed 150 mg/dL. This test is part of a lipid panel that includes other fats in the blood such as LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol.
Low HDL (good) cholesterol
HDL is the good cholesterol that helps remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL level is defined as less than 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women.
High blood pressure
If your systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) is 130 mmHg or above or if your diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) is 80 mmHg or above, this is considered high blood pressure (Hypertension). It is important to check your blood pressure regularly. Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure and the majority have not reached recommended blood pressure targets.
Elevated fasting glucose levels
This is considered elevated if your fasting blood sugar exceeds 100 mg/dL. High blood sugar is a sign that the body is not responding well to the insulin, a hormone that brings sugar from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. This is referred to as insulin resistance.
According to the most widely accepted definitions of Metabolic syndrome, a person can be diagnosed with at least three symptoms.
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome
The exact cause of the metabolic syndrome is unknown. However, there are several theories about what may contribute to the development of this condition. One idea is that people gain weight as they age. This weight gain causes the body to become less sensitive to the hormone insulin and increases inflammation. A combination of high blood sugar and inflammation leads to plaque in the arteries that cause heart attack and stroke. There is also a genetic predisposition to this condition and it is closely linked to lifestyle factors.
Complications Associated With Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as people who do not have this condition. Furthermore, people with metabolic syndrome are three times as likely to have a stroke as those without this condition.
Some of the better-known complications associated with Metabolic Syndrome include:
This is one of the most severe complications associated with metabolic syndrome. Cardiovascular disease is when the arteries become narrowed or blocked, leading to a heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the medical term for blockages in the arteries.
Another severe complication associated with metabolic syndrome is stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off and can lead to paralysis, coma, and even death.
Metabolic syndrome also increases the risk for type 2 diabetes. This severe condition can lead to several health complications, such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
Prevention of Metabolic Syndrome
The best way to prevent metabolic syndrome is to make lifestyle changes and to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Making these changes can be difficult, but it is essential to remember that they can help improve your overall health and well-being. If you are struggling to make these changes on your own, resources are available to help you. Some medications can also help manage some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Heart disease (coronary artery disease) is the number one killer in the United States. Make sure to regularly check for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol.