Metabolic syndrome is a condition that is characterized by group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. These risk factors include excess abdominal body fat or abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol level, and high fasting blood sugar, which is an early sign of diabetes.
The risk for certain diseases increases with the number of metabolic risk factors a person has. People without metabolic syndrome are twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, three times as likely to have heart attack or stroke, and twice as likely to die. In regards to diabetes, this adds to the 382 million people who already have diabetes. About 80 percent of people with diabetes will die of heart disease.
It is important for people to know about metabolic syndrome because people with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and type 2 diabetes. Atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease cause blockages which narrow the arteries and restrict blood circulation throughout the body. It is especially dangerous when they affect the arteries leading to your brain, heart, kidneys and legs. For coronary heart disease and heart attack, the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by plaque. This decreases the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the heart. For stroke, the blood supply to brain is interrupted by a blocked or burst blood vessel. It deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Within a few minutes, the brain cells begin to die which can lead to brain damage or death. For type 2 diabetes, the body can no longer make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. This causes sugars to build up in the blood and increases risks for kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. There is no direct cause, yet several causes working together. Some can be controlled, and some cannot. What can be controlled is being overweight and obese, physically inactive, and being insulin resistant. What cannot be controlled includes your age and genetics (ethnicity and family history). Other common conditions includes excessive blood clotting and constant, low-grade inflammation throughout body.
Treatment for metabolic syndrome includes making healthy lifestyle changes and taking medications. Healthy lifestyle changes includes losing weight (your BMI should be less than 25), being physically active, eating a heart healthy diet, and not smoking. Medications for metabolic syndrome include medications for high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, and blood-thinning medicines.