Metabolic syndrome is an increasingly common group of risk factors that can raise your risk of some serious conditions.  Metabolic syndrome is having multiple conditions at the same time.  Just having one of these does not mean you have metabolic syndrome.  You have to have three or more of the risk factors to deem you diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. 

One out of six adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome.  


The risk factors that go into having metabolic syndrome are:

  1. Increased blood pressure.  Higher than 130/85mmGH
  2. High blood sugar.  Fasting test 100 mg/dL or higher. 
  3. Excess body fat around the waist. Women 35in waist or bigger, Men 40 in or bigger.
  4. Low HDL. (good cholesterol) Levels lower than 50mg/dL for women. Levels lower than 40mg/dL for men. 
  5. High triglycerides levels. 150 mg/dL or higher 

You have to have three of these to have metabolic syndrome.  Any of these though can raise your risk of other conditions or diseases.  Having these risk factors can raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke


Causes Of Metabolic Syndrome 

There are lots of things that can cause you to have metabolic syndrome. 

  • One of the main ones is being overweight or obese.  Especially if you hold weight in your abdominal area. 
  • Having an inactive lifestyle can also lead to metabolic syndrome. 
  • Insulin resistance is another cause. 
  • Your risk of having metabolic syndrome increases as your age increases as well. 
  • Genetics can play a role, if others in your family have metabolic syndrome you are more likely to have it. 
  • Eating an unhealthy diet that is high in processed foods. 
  • If you have preexisting conditions such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), non alcoholic fatty liver disease, or sleep apnea. 
  • Smoking is another risk factor. 


Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

There are no actual symptoms that you will experience with metabolic syndrome.  If you have insulin resistance you may experience increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, or blurred vision.  You may also notice darkened skin spots on your armpits, back of neck, or under breasts. 

Mostly though people do not have symptoms. 


Diagnosing Metabolic Syndrome

To be diagnosed your doctor will want to do a physical exam and blood tests.  Your doctor will do a fasting blood test to check your glucose levels, as well as your cholesterol levels.  Blood pressure can be done at your physical exam.  Once your results are back your doctor will talk to you if you have three or more of the risk factors to diagnose you with metabolic syndrome.  


Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome

Treatments are done in lifestyle changes.  If lifestyle changes don’t help or lower your levels your doctor may want to do other treatment options. 

Medication to help lower your blood pressure or to improve insulin metabolism can be prescribed. 

Weight loss surgery can also be an option for morbid obesity, or if you can’t lose weight in a time frame your doctor feels is best. 

Lifestyle treatments are to eat a heart healthy diet.  This is a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.  This diet is also low in saturated fats and trans fats. 

You will want to aim for a healthy weight for you. 

Add in regular exercise daily.  This can be a walk, workout problem, or exercise routine. 

Quit smoking.

Manage stress.  Find what works best for you to manage stress, yoga, meditation, journaling, or listening to music.  

If left untreated metabolic syndrome can actually cause other conditions.  It can cause cardiovascular disease,  type 2 diabetes and increase your risk of stroke.  It can also cause PCOS, fatty liver disease, cholesterol gallstones, asthma, sleep problems, and even some types of cancers. 

Starting with lifestyle changes can help tremendously in getting rid of metabolic syndrome.  


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