- Take the Metabolic Syndrome Quiz
- Type 2 Diabetes: Learn the Warning Signs
- A Visual Guide to Heart Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome FAQs
- Patient Comments: Metabolic Syndrome - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Metabolic Syndrome - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Metabolic Syndrome - Diet
- Find a local Internist in your town
- What is metabolic syndrome?
- How is metabolic syndrome defined?
- How common is metabolic syndrome?
- What causes, and what are the risk factors of metabolic syndrome?
- What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?
- Why should I know about metabolic syndrome?
- What is the treatment for metabolic syndrome?
- Diet and metabolic syndrome
- Exercise and metabolic syndrome
- Cosmetic surgery to remove fat
- What if lifestyle changes are not enough to treat metabolic syndrome?
- Metabolic Syndrome Summary
Exercise and metabolic syndrome
A sustainable exercise program, for example 30 minutes five days a week is reasonable to start, providing there is no medical contraindication. (If you have any special concerns in this regard, check with your doctor first.) There is a beneficial effect of exercise on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin sensitivity, regardless of whether weight loss is achieved or not. Thus, exercise in itself is a helpful tool in treating metabolic syndrome.
Cosmetic surgery to remove fat
Some people may ask: Why not just have liposuction of the abdomen and remove the large amount of abdominal fat that is a big part of the problem? Data thus far shows no benefit in liposuction on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, or cholesterol. As the saying goes, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." Diet and exercise are still the preferred primary treatment of metabolic syndrome.
What if lifestyle changes are not enough to treat metabolic syndrome?
If someone has already had a heart attack, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol should be reduced below 70mg/dl. A person who has diabetes has a heart attack risk equivalent to that of someone who has already one and so should be treated in the same way. If you have metabolic syndrome, a detailed discussion about lipid therapy is needed between you and your doctor, as each individual is unique.
Blood pressure goals are generally set lower than 130/80. Some blood pressure medications offer more benefits than simply lowering blood pressure. For example, a class of blood pressure drugs called ACE inhibitors has been found to also reduce the levels of insulin resistance and actually deter the development of type 2 diabetes. This is an important consideration when discussing the choice blood pressure drugs in the metabolic syndrome.
The discovery that a drug is prescribed for one condition, and has other beneficial effects is not new. Drugs used to treat high blood sugar and insulin resistance may have beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.
Metformin (Glucophage), usually used to treat type 2 diabetes, also has been found to help prevent the onset of diabetes in people with metabolic syndrome. However, there are currently no established guidelines on treating metabolic syndrome patients with metformin if they do not have overt diabetes.