What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance, occurs when a person’s tissues have become resistant to the effects of insulin. Metabolic syndrome is caused when fat cells release agents that increase inflammation, cause insulin resistance in muscles and increase triglycerides. As your body mass index (BMI) – especially belly fat – increases, you are likely to develop an abnormal lipid profile, high blood pressure and vascular inflammation. This could lead to heart disease and diabetes.
You may have metabolic syndrome if three or more of the following are present:
- Elevated blood pressure or if you take medication for hypertension
- Fasting blood sugar greater than 100 mg/dl
- Triglyceride greater than 150 mg/dl and HDL less than 50 mg/dl in women; HDL less than 40 g/dl in men
- Waist circumference greater than 35 inches in women or greater than 40 inches in men (measure the widest part of your belly with a tape measure)
Taking certain medications and your family history also contribute to your risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome has been associated with fatty liver, kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obstructive sleep apnea, gout and cognitive decline.
How Do I Improve Metabolic Syndrome?
- Lose weight (decrease calories and carbohydrates).
- Exercise – 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages (sweet tea, sodas, juices).
- Addition of the medication Metformin may enhance insulin sensitivity, per provider’s orders.
Talk with your primary care provider or Weight Management provider if you think you have metabolic syndrome. For more about this condition, click here.
Weight Management: Pathways to Improving Your Health
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