Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and obesity.
It puts you at greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that affect the blood vessels.
On their own, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can damage blood vessels, but having all 3 together is particularly dangerous. The condition is also known by other names including Syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, and dysmetabolic syndrome
Causes of Metabolic Syndrome:
- Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors, so there is not a single cause.
- Having central obesity or overweight is a major factor, but abnormal blood lipid and cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and prediabetes also contribute to cardiometabolic risk.
- Unavoidable risk factors, such as family history and ethnic background, can increase the chance of developing some components.
- A diet that is high in fat and sugar, together with a lack of exercise, has been associated with the development of obesity and related conditions.
- However, lifestyle choices can impact these factors.
- However, symptoms such as insulin resistance do not necessarily accompany obesity or indicate metabolic syndrome.
- Insulin resistance is a feature of metabolic syndrome and obesity, and it can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but it can also be a sign of other conditions.
Most of the metabolic risk factors have no symptoms, although a large waistline is a visible sign.
Some people may have symptoms of high blood sugar if diabetes – especially type 2 diabetes – is present. Symptoms of high blood sugar often include increased thirst; increased urination, especially at night; fatigue (tiredness); and blurred vision.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. However, some people in the early stages may have dull headaches, dizzy spells, or more nosebleeds than usual.
CRITERIA FOR METABOLIC SYNDROME
At least 3 of the 5 following criteria must be met to diagnose a person with metabolic syndrome:
■ Abdominal obesity: waist circumference of ≥102 cm in men and ≥88 cm in women
■ Hypertriglyceridemia: ≥150 mg/dl (1.695 mmol/L)
■ Low HDL-C: < 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/dL) in men and < 50 mg/dL (1.30 mmol/dL) in women ■ High blood pressure (BP): >130/85 mmHg
■ High fasting glucose: >110 mg/dl (6.1 mmol/L)
The goal of metabolic syndrome treatment is to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes by controlling the associated problematic health conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, insulin resistance).
Losing weight – Exercise is a great way to lose weight, weight loss is often a by-product of exercising and eating well. But it’s a key goal in itself if you’re overweight or obese. Weight loss can improve every aspect of metabolic syndrome.
Adopting a healthier diet – Eating a healthy diet can improve cholesterol, insulin resistance, and blood pressure.
Quitting smoking – It’s not a risk factor for what’s considered a metabolic syndrome, yet smoking greatly increases the risk of the blood vessel and heart disease.
Taking prescribed medications- In addition to the medications used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar, those individuals at very high risk may be prescribed metformin or other medications to help manage diabetes, or low-dose aspirin to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Metabolic syndrome can be prevented by maintaining a healthy waist circumference and blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Exercise and weight loss can aid in these efforts and decrease insulin resistance.
In particular, eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Exercise is also important when it comes to preventing this condition. Regular physical activity will reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. The key is to try to maintain a healthy weight. Prevention of metabolic syndrome will also require that you have regular physical exams. The doctor can measure blood pressure and complete blood work that may indicate the early development of the metabolic syndrome. Early diagnosis of the condition and treatment will reduce health complications over the long term.