Metabolic syndrome is comprised of 5 risk factors that increases the risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
What are the risk factors?
- Elevated blood sugar levels
- High blood pressure
- High triglyceride levels
- Excess fat around the waist
- Low levels of good cholesterol or HDL
If an individual has one of these risk factors, it does not mean that he/she has metabolic syndrome. Nevertheless, having one can increase the chances of developing heart disease. In case 3 or more of these are present, a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is given and it increases the risk for complications.
The risk factors for metabolic syndrome are linked to obesity. The 2 vital risk factors include:
- Central obesity or excess fat around the middle and upper region of the body
- Insulin resistance where the body has difficulty using sugar
Other risk factors that heightens the risk include:
- Family history
- Lack of exercise
- Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
How is it diagnosed?
When diagnosing metabolic syndrome, the doctor requires several tests such as:
- Cholesterol levels
- Waist circumference
- Blood pressure
- Fasting blood triglycerides
- Fasting glucose level
Management of metabolic syndrome
If an individual is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the objective of treatment is to lower the risk for developing further health complications. The doctor might recommend lifestyle changes that includes cutting down the current weight and regular moderate to intense exercise for 30 minutes for 5-7 days in a week. In addition, cessation of smoking is also suggested.
The doctor might also prescribe medications to lower the blood pressure, blood sugar and/or cholesterol. A low-dose aspirin is also given to lower the risk for heart attack and stroke.