Metabolic Syndrome

Diabetes & Related Conditions – Metabolic Syndrome

The metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors of a metabolic origin that increase the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. In general, it is characterized by:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Dyslipidemia–(abnormal blood fat levels)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance and high blood sugars

Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome include the following:

  • Overweight (especially excessive fat in the abdominal region*)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age: Over 60 years old
  • Ethnicity: Latino/Hispanic American (especially women), African American (especially women), Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease
  • History of glucose intolerance* or gestational diabetes
  • A diagnosis of any of the following conditions:
    • High blood pressure*
    • Elevated triglycerides/low HDL–cholesterol*
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome
    • Chronic kidney disease

* Components of the syndrome

In general, the metabolic syndrome causes no noticeable symptoms, except perhaps those related to obesity. The diseases that may result from the metabolic syndrome, however, have symptoms, including symptoms of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and poor leg circulation.

The doctor will ask about your medical history, perform a physical exam, and order laboratory tests.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests to measure:
    • Fasting blood sugar levels (glucose) or a two–hour post–glucose challenge blood sugar level
    • Fasting insulin
    • Triglyceride level
    • HDL cholesterol level
    • A1c
  • Blood pressure
  • Calculation of body mass index (BMI) from weight and height

There are several criteria for diagnosing the metabolic syndrome. You may be diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of the following measures; according to the National Cholesterol Education Program and American Heart Association

  • Waist measurement – greater than 40 inches in men (35 inches in Asian men) or 35 inches in women (31 inches in Asian women)
  • Fasting blood sugar (glucose) – greater than or equal to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
  • Serum triglycerides – greater than or equal to 150 mg/dl
  • Serum HDL (“good”) cholesterol – less than 40 mg/dl in men and less than 50 mg/dl in women
  • Blood pressure – greater than or equal to 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mmHg)

The treatment of the metabolic syndrome involves two parts:

  • Treatment of underlying causes.
  • Treatment of specific metabolic abnormality.

Treatment of Underlying Causes

  • Reducing excess weight
  • Increasing physical activity

Treatment of specific abnormalities

  • Lowering blood pressure to below 130/85 mmHg with diet, exercise, and possibly medication
  • Improving triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, and possibly medication

To help prevent the metabolic syndrome:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthful weight
  • Do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least four days per week
  • See your healthcare provider regularly

In addition, other unhealthy lifestyle factors also contribute to heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. To lower your risk of these diseases:

  • Eat a healthful diet, low in saturated fat and trans fatty acids and cholesterol, and high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink alcohol in moderation only

Act now!
If you act now, you can reduce your chance of diabetes, stroke, or heart disease in the future. If you have questions about the metabolic syndrome or the Group Lifestyle BalanceTM program, please contact us.