Approximately 47 million adult Americans have metabolic syndrome.
It is a serious health condition characterized as a group of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. It is also related to insulin resistance, a condition which affects your body’s ability to use insulin efficiently. Risk factors are traits, conditions or lifestyle habits that make you more likely to develop one of these chronic health conditions.
Having multiple risk factors increases the incidence of these diseases compared to any one risk factor alone. The causes of metabolic syndrome include overweight and obesity, lack of regular physical activity, genetic predisposition and aging.
Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a person has at least three of the following risk factors:
- Abdominal obesity defined by a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater for women and 40 inches or greater for men
- Elevated triglycerides – 150 mg/dL or higher
- Fasting blood glucose level of 100 mg/dL or greater
- High blood pressure
- Low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) defined as less than
- 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women
Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors
Fortunately, there are healthy lifestyle behaviors to help improve your overall health and particular risk factors. The treatment for metabolic syndrome requires losing excess weight; maintaining a healthy weight; participating in regular physical activity; consuming a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meat and poultry, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and fish; and avoiding foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. In addition to lifestyle changes, you may require medication to control blood pressure, blood glucose and blood fats.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your risks and ways to prevent and treat metabolic syndrome.
Click here to visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information on the metabolic syndrome.