(Syndrome X; Insulin Resistance Syndrome; Dysmetabolic Syndrome)
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions associated with obesity that may include high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids, and high fasting blood sugar.
Metabolic syndrome puts a person at risk for:
Metabolic syndrome may be characterized by:
obesity—high amount of fat around the waist
- Low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides—type of fat measured in the blood
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated fasting glucose level due to lower sensitivity to insulin
|Coronary Artery Disease
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The exact cause of metabolic syndrome is not known. It believed to be due to a combination of factors, such as:
- Genetic factors
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor diet
Metabolic syndrome is more common in people who are Hispanic, Caucasian, or African American. Factors that may increase your chance of metabolic syndrome include:
Having disorders or conditions associated with metabolic disorder such as:
- History of gestational diabetes
- Family history of the disorders listed above
- Physical inactivity
- Poor diet
Unhealthy habits, such as
- Certain medications, such as atypical antipsychotics
Symptoms may include:
- Frequent urination, and
excessive thirst and hunger due to high blood sugars
- Dark, velvety skin discoloration seen with obesity
You may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have:
- Waist measurement—greater than 40 inches in Caucasian men (35 inches in Asian men) or 35 inches in Caucasian women (30 inches in Asian women)
- At least 2 of the following:
- Fasting glucose level—greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL* (5.55 mmol/L)
- Triglyceride level—greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)
- HDL cholesterol—less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) in men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women
- Blood pressure—greater than or equal to 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)
*mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter blood, mmol/L = millimoles per liter blood
The treatment of metabolic syndrome involves:
- Treatment of underlying causes, usually by diet and exercise
- Treatment of specific metabolic abnormality
or other weight loss surgery may be helpful to treat metabolic syndrome if obesity is severe. Talk to your doctor to learn if this is an option for you.
Treatment of Underlying Causes
- Reducing excess weight
by at least 10% in the next 6-12 months
- Increasing physical activity to 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise four or more days per week as approved by your doctor
- Lowering blood pressure to below 130/85 mmHg with diet, exercise, and possibly medication
- Improving triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, and possibly medication
Treatment of Specific Metabolic Abnormality
- High blood pressure—treated with anti-hypertensive medication and lifestyle changes
- Insulin resistance—treated with diabetes medications and lifestyle changes
- High cholesterol—treated with cholesterol-lowering medications called statins and lifestyle changes
- Clotting tendency—treated with low-dose aspirin , especially in those with moderate to high cardiovascular risk
To reduce your chances of metabolic syndrome, take these steps:
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to successfully
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Work up to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. This means no more than 2 drinks daily for men, 1 drink daily for women.
American Heart Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Diabetes Association
Batsis JA, Romero-Corral A, et al. Effect of bariatric surgery on the metabolic syndrome: a population-based, long-term controlled study.
Mayo Clin Proc. 2008;83(8):897-907.
Deen D. Metabolic syndrome: Time for action.
Am Fam Physician. 2004;69:2875-2882.
Explore metabolic syndrome.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website.
Updated November 3, 2011. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Gami AS, Witt BJ, et al. Metabolic syndrome and risk of incident cardiovascular events and death.
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007;49:403-414.
Grundy SM, Brewer HB, et al. Definition of metabolic syndrome: report of the NHLBI/AHA conference on scientific issues related to definition.
Grundy SM, Cleeman JI, et al. AHA/NHLBI Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome: an AHA/NHLBI Scientific Statement.
Metabolic syndrome. American Heart Association website. Available at:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/Metabolic-Syndrome%5FUCM%5F002080%5FSubHomePage.jsp. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Metabolic syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 29, 2013. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Wright JT, Harris-Haywood S, et al. Clinical outcomes by race in hypertensive patients with and without the metabolic syndrome (ALLHAT).
Arch Int Med.
1/13/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Salas-Salvadó J, Fernández-Ballart J, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts on metabolic syndrome status: one-year results of the PREDIMED randomized trial.
Arch Intern Med.
2/17/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Davidson LE, Hudson R, et al. Effects of exercise modality on insulin resistance and functional limitation in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.
Arch Intern Med.
5/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Nettleton JA, Lutsey PL, et al. Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
1/22/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Xu Y, Shen S, et al. Metabolic syndrome risk after gestational diabetes: Asystematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e87863.