Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of factors that raise your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other health conditions.

a selection of heart medication, insulin pens, blood sugar monitor and diabetic medication placed on a table

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of factors that raise your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other health conditions. It is closely linked to being overweight or obese, an unhealthy diet and a lack of regular physical activity. Metabolic Syndrome also tends to run in families.  If you are of Hispanic or Asian heritage, living in the U.S and are overweight, you have an increased risk of diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

If you have at least 3 of 5 of the following symptoms, you may have Metabolic Syndrome:

  1. A large waistline – carrying extra weight around your middle suggests more “unhealthy” or visceral fat. For men, a waistline greater than 38 inches, and in women, a waistline greater than 36 inches is considered large.
  2. High triglycerides – Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. If you have high triglycerides (>150 mg/dL), it may mean your body is having a hard time processing the extra calories you eat.
  3. A low HDL “good” cholesterol – a high HDL level protects against heart disease, while a low HDL cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease.
  4. High Blood Pressure – continued high pressure from the heart, pushing blood through your body and against the walls of your arteries damages the arteries and also makes the heart work harder than it should. 
  5. Insulin resistance – pre-diabetes, diabetes, fatty liver, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and gestational diabetes are all medical conditions in which insulin doesn’t work as well as it should. Higher levels than normal are needed to keep blood sugar levels normal. Eventually, the body can’t increase the amount of insulin it can make to keep blood sugars normal and diabetes results. The inflammation associated with insulin resistance increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

If you have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome and Pre-diabetes, you have about a 10% chance per year of developing diabetes. The risk for heart attacks and strokes starts to increase earlier even before diabetes is diagnosed. For this reason, we need to be much better at preventing Metabolic Syndrome.

As little as a 5% – 10% weight loss can improve insulin resistance, reduce hemoglobin A1C by 0.5 point, decrease risk of certain cancers, improve blood pressure, improve blood cholesterol, improve joint aches and pains.

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