Metabolic Syndrome

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that come together in a single individual. These metabolic factors include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for blood clotting. Affected individuals are most often overweight or obese. An association between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been known since the 1940s.

Metabolic syndrome is considered to be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes that arises due to insulin resistance and an abnormal function and pattern of body fat. Insulin resistance refers to the diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in promoting the transport of the sugar glucose, from blood into muscles and other tissues.

Metabolic syndrome is also known as syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, or dysmetabolic syndrome.

How is metabolic syndrome defined?

Based on the guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the American Heart Association (AHA), any three of the following traits in the same individual meet the criteria for the metabolic syndrome:

  1. Abdominal obesity: a waist circumference of 102 cm (40 in) or more in men and 88 cm (35 inches) or more in women. For Asian Americans, the cutoff values are ≥90 cm (35 in) in men or ≥80 cm (32 in) in women
  2. Serum triglycerides 150 mg/dl or above.
  3. HDL cholesterol 40mg/dl or lower in men and 50mg/dl or lower in women.
  4. Blood pressure of 130/85 or more.
  5. Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl or above.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Metabolic Syndrome - Effective Treatments Question: Please describe what treatments have been effective for metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome - Symptoms Question: What were your symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and what medical conditions were associated with it?
Metabolic Syndrome - Cosmetic Surgery Question: Did you have a cosmetic procedure to remove fat? Please discuss your experience.
Metabolic Syndrome - Diet Question: Have you tried a special diet(s), including the popular Mediterranean diet? Please share your experience.

Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetesexternal link icon and stroke. These risk factors can increase your risk for health problems even if they're only moderately raised (borderline-high risk factors).

Most of the metabolic risk factors have no signs or symptoms, although a large waistline is a visible sign.

Some people may have symptoms of high blood sugar if diabetes - especially type 2 diabetes - is present. Symptoms of high blood sugar often include increased thirst; increased urination, especially at night; fatigue (tiredness); and blurred vision.

High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms. However, some people in the early stages of high blood pressure may have dull headaches, dizzy spells, or more nosebleeds than usual.

SOURCE:
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome?