Metabolic Syndrome

Do you have three or more of these risk factors?

Metabolic syndrome is very dangerous and more common than you think. It is the name for a group of risk factors that increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. These conditions include: elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. According to guidelines used by the National Institutes of Health, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the risk factors listed above – or are taking medication to control them. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning.

Combined, these conditions double your risk of heart disease, and increase your risk of diabetes five-fold.

Metabolic syndrome is becoming more common due to a rise in obesity rates among adults. It is also linked to a condition called insulin resistance, in which cells don’t respond normally to insulin causing blood glucose levels to rise. Risk is also increased if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or polycystic ovary syndrome. Metabolic syndrome may be prevented with aggressive lifestyle changes. However, if diet and exercise aren’t enough, medications may be needed.

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