People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other disease related to plaque buildup in artery walls, including stroke peripheral vascular disease
Insulin resistance is an important cause of metabolic syndrome. This is why the metabolic syndrome is also called the insulin resistance syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of three risk factors. A diagnosis of "metabolic syndrome" is made if at least three of the following conditions are present:
- Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen with waist circumference above 40 inches for men and above 35 inches for women)
- Triglycerides above 150 mg/dL
- Reduced HDL ("good" cholesterol): less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women
- Elevated blood pressure above 130/85
- Fasting glucose level above 100mg/dL
The metabolic syndrome has become more common in the United States and affects over 50 million Americans.
Managing metabolic syndrome
The primary goal of management of the metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This includes stopping smoking, reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and reducing glucose levels to the recommended levels.
In addition, it is vital to reduce weight to a goal BMI of less than 25 kg/m2. Ways to achieve this goal include increased physical activity, with a goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week. In addition, healthy eating habits that include reduced intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol are recommended.