Published on January 31, 2012
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that multiply a person's risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Almost 35% of American adults are affected. The underlying causes of metabolic syndrome are obesity, being overweight, physical inactivity and genetic factors. Metabolic syndrome is dangerous because when individual risk factors are seen together in a person, the likelihood increases for cardiovascular problems and diabetes.
To diagnose metabolic syndrome, most doctors look for the presence of three or more of these components:
- Central or abdominal obesity (measured by waist circumference):
- Men - Greater than 40 inches
- Women - Greater than 35 inches
- Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL)
- Blood HDL cholesterol:
- Men - Less than 40 mg/dL
- Women - Less than 50 mg/dL
- Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
- Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL
Although metabolic syndrome is a serious condition, you can reduce your risks significantly by reducing your weight; increasing your physical activity; eating a heart-healthy diet that's rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish; and working with your healthcare provider to monitor and manage blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. By working with your healthcare professional, metabolic syndrome is treatable and you can reduce your risks.