Metabolic Syndrome: What is it and should I care?

E. Carey Waters, MD, Medical Director

What is it?
  • This syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase your risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
    • A large waistline
    • High Triglycerides (fat in the blood)
    • Low HDL Cholesterol ( the “good cholesterol” that helps reduce build-up in the blood vessels)
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Elevated fasting blood sugar (this doesn’t have to be high enough to be considered diabetes)
Should I care?
  • The more of these risk factors your have the higher your risk of significant health issues (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.)
  • With all of the risk factors (full Metabolic Syndrome) you are twice as likely to develop Heart Disease and FIVE times as likely to develop Diabetes
  • Even one risk factor does increase your risk of having health issues down the road
What causes it?
  • There are several things that contribute to these risks
    • Lack of physical activity/Obesity
    • Insulin Resistance (your body doesn’t use insulin correctly)
    • Genetic Factors (you are more likely to have it if others in your family do)
    • Older age
What can I do?
  • It is becoming more common
  • Lifestyles changes are the most important thing you can do to help prevent/delay Metabolic Syndrome
    • Increase Exercise
    • Decrease Calories (especially from carbohydrates – sugars and starches)
    • Long-term commitment that must be maintained