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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What is the treatment for metabolic syndrome?

The major goals are to treat both the underlying cause of the syndrome, to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, and also to treat the cardiovascular risk factors if they persist. As has been discussed, a majority of people with metabolic syndrome are overweight and live a sedentary lifestyle.

Lifestyle modification is the preferred treatment of metabolic syndrome. Weight reduction usually requires a specifically tailored multifaceted program that includes diet and exercise. Smoking cessation is an important component of treatment, and sometimes medications may be useful.

Diet and metabolic syndrome

A detailed discussion of diet therapies, pros and cons of various diets etc. is beyond the scope of this article. However, there is now a trend toward the use of a Mediterranean diet -- one that is rich in "good" fats (olive oil) and contains a reasonable amount of carbohydrates and proteins (such as from fish and chicken).

The Mediterranean diet is palatable and easily sustained. In addition, recent studies have shown that when compared to a low fat diet, people on the Mediterranean diet have a greater decrease in body weight, and also had greater improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other markers of heart disease -- all of which are important in evaluating and treating metabolic syndrome.

Other nutritional plans that may be recommended for people with metabolic syndrome include the  American Dietary Association (ADA) diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2016
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