Metabolic Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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?

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. 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. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance.

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 3/17/2016
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