Metabolic Syndrome is remarkably common. The American Heart Association estimates that 47 million Americans have it. To put that in perspective, this is more people than catch the flu most years. Surprisingly, Metabolic Syndrome was not clearly identified and associated with insulin until 1988 and most Americans have never heard of it. Many people with this disorder do not know they have it.
Metabolic Syndrome is a collection or constellation of risk factors that increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. These risk factors are:
- High Triglycerides
- Low HDL Cholesterol
- Large Waist
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Glucose Levels
A person is diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome if they have at least three of these risk factors. Metabolic Syndrome is also known as “Syndrome X” and “Insulin Resistance Syndrome”.
This syndrome is not only extremely common in the United States, but it is growing world wide. It is considered to be a serious health condition. One reason that so many people are unaware that they have the condition is that the risk factors individually have no symptoms.
Metabolic Syndrome and Prediabetes are related as both are associated with High Blood Glucose Levels. As with Prediabetes, people with Metabolic Syndrome are advised to lose weight (even 5% to 10% will help significantly), eat a nutritious, fiber rich diet, and increase their daily exercise.
Race plays a factor. Caucasians are at a greater risk than African Americans. Gender matters as well. Men are at greater risk than women.
Insulin resistance, which contributes to high blood glucose levels, may be inherited. Therefore, some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance and thus at a higher risk of Metabolic Syndrome.
With Metabolic Syndrome so common, be aware of where you stand in relation to the five risk factors. Make the lifestyle changes and take all medicines and prescribed treatments for all of the risk factors individually as advised by your doctor. Make sure to ask questions of your doctor regarding your particular risk for Metabolic Syndrome and your lifestyle and the best options for you.