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Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome isn’t a disease; it’s a combination of multiple risk factors that puts one at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Having three or more of these five risk factors can DOUBLE the risk for heart disease and increases the risk of diabetes FIVE times.

Symptom Minimum value 
High Waist Circumference Men: > 40 inches; Women: >35 inches 
High Triglycerides 150 mg/dL or greater 
Low HDL cholesterol Men: < 40 mg/dL; Women: < 50 mg/dL 
High Blood Pressure BP 130/85 mmHg or greater 
High Fasting Glucose 100 mg/dL or higher 

One of the risk factors most strongly correlated with metabolic syndrome is increased waist circumference or abdominal obesity. Excess body fat (especially around the midsection) is a contributing factor to hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, and high CVD risk. 
High triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), along with low HDL cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease. 
Many people who have metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to transport glucose into cells in the body. People who are insulin resistant have cells that do not respond well to insulin and abnormally high levels of both glucose and insulin in the blood. Improper regulation of these hormones can lead to metabolic imbalances that can result in increased hunger an hour or two after eating a meal high in carbohydrates. 

Management of Metabolic Syndrome 
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent these initial symptoms from worsening into a more dire condition through diet and lifestyle changes. Some general recommendations for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are listed below: 
 Weight Reduction. Maintain a healthy body weight by balancing a sound diet with physical activity. If overweight, lose weight gradually at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week. Men should aim for a waist circumference of < 40 inches and < 35 inches for women. Even losing a small amount of weight and keeping it off is better than large amounts of weight loss and gaining it again. 
 Increase physical activity. Engage in 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. It is not necessary to spend a whole hour at the gym, exercise such as brisk walking, and climbing stairs at work all count. In addition, increase activities of daily life such as walking, cleaning/vacuuming the home, mowing the lawn, etc. Be sure to include muscle-strengthening exercises often because muscle burns more calories than fat. 
 Change the way you eat. Reduce saturated fat, eliminate trans fat, and choose primarily unsaturated fats. Strictly limit your intake of sugars and refined carbohydrate (white foods) as well. 
 Achieve lowered blood pressure. See handout on the DASH diet and lowering blood pressure. Weight control, physical activity, increased fruits and vegetables consumption, along with reduced sodium all can help lower blood pressure. Also, choose foods and beverages without added sugar, and if you drink alcohol do so ONLY in moderation. 
 Control glucose (blood sugar) levels. Weight reduction, a balanced diet and increased physical activity can help reduce blood glucose. 
Prevention is always the best medicine and the first line of defense against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.