Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of risk factors.
Obviously, having any one of these risk factors isn’t good. But when they’re combined, they set the stage for serious problems.
These risk factors double your risk of blood vessel and heart disease à heart attack and strokes. They increase your risk of diabetes five times.
The good news is that metabolic syndrome can be controlled, largely with changes to your lifestyle.
Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, there are five risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome.
- Abdominal fat (Large Waist Size: Men 40” or more Women 35” or more)
- High Triglyceride
- Low Good Cholesterol (HDL)
- High Blood Pressure
- High Fasting Glucose Level
To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you would have at least three of these risk factors.
What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?
Experts aren’t sure why metabolic syndrome develops. It’s a collection of risk factors, not a single disease. So it probably has many different causes. Some risk factors are:
- Insulin Resistance; Eventually, this can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance is closely connected to having excess weight in the belly.
- Obesity — especially abdominal obesity. , having extra fat in the belly — as opposed to elsewhere in the body — seems to increase your risk.
- Unhealthy lifestyle. Eating a diet high in unhealthy processed foods and not getting enough physical activity can play a role.
- Hormonal imbalance. Hormones may play a role. For instance, polycystic ovary syndrome ( PCOS) — a condition that affects fertility — is related to hormonal imbalance and metabolic syndrome.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you might be anxious. But think of it as a wake-up call. It’s time to get serious about improving your health. Making simple changes to your habits now can prevent serious illness in the future.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 21, 2015