The Guide to Metabolic Syndrome

According to the American Heart Association (AMA), metabolic syndrome is classified as a combination of several risk factors present in an individual that significantly increase the risk of heart disease, stroke

and diabetes.


The Mayo Clinic states that someone with three traits of metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. In addition, they may have an increased risk of developing diabetes as a result of a resistance to insulin. Those suffering from the disease present several symptoms that show the effect on their metabolism such as:

  • Abdominal obesity

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Elevated levels of blood fat (triglycerides) and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol)

  • Resistance to insulin

  • Prothrombotic state

  • Proinflammatory state


Risks

Individuals with the following characteristics are most at risk for metabolic syndrome:

  • Age – Over age 60

  • Race – Hispanic and Asian

  • Obesity – Body mass index (BMI) over 25

  • History of diabetes in the family

  • Diagnosis of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or polycystic ovary syndrome


Diagnosis

According to the AMA, you have metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of the following traits at the same time:

  • Waist circumference over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men

  • Elevated level of triglycerides

  • Reduced HDL

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Elevated fasting blood sugar


Treatment

Although treating multiple symptoms may seem daunting, there are many things that you can do to minimize your risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes after a metabolic syndrome diagnosis:

  • Exercise: Get 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day.

  • Eat healthily: Reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.

  • Consume fiber: Eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables to lower insulin levels.

  • See a doctor: Schedule regular visits to check blood pressure and cholesterol.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.

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