Metabolic syndrome – symptoms, causes and risk factors

Metabolic syndrome

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions (abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, excess body fat around the waist, high blood sugar and increased blood pressure) which happen together and they increase your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

If you have just one of these conditions, this does not mean that you have metabolic syndrome but any of the mentioned conditions can increase your risk of serious disease. If you have more than one of these conditions, then they can increase your risk even more. If you suffer from metabolic syndrome or any of its components, then the aggressive lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the development of serious health problems.



The most disorders which are associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms but a large waist circumference is a visible sign. If the blood sugar is very high, then you can have signs and symptoms of diabetes, including blurred vision, fatigue and increased thirst and urination.

If you have at least one of these components of the metabolic syndrome, then you should talk with your doctor if you need testing for other components of this syndrome. Your doctor will consider that you have metabolic syndrome if you have at least 3 of the following symptoms:

  • HDL (high – density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels of 40 mg/dL or less for men and 50 mg/dL or less for women
  • Blood triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or higher
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 mm/Hg or above
  • You have fasting blood glucose levels of 100 mg/dL or above
  • You have central, visceral, abdominal obesity, specifically a waist size of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women

If you have 3 or more of the mentioned symptoms, then it increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart attack.

Metabolic syndrome


The inactivity and being obese or overweight are linked to metabolic syndrome. Also, this condition is a linked to insulin resistance. When your digestive system is functioning normally, then it breaks down the food you eat into sugar (glucose).

The insulin is a hormone which is made by your pancreas that can help the sugar to enter your cells to be used as a fuel. Those people who are having insulin resistance, cells are not responding normally to insulin and the glucose cannot enter the cells as easily. As a result of this, the glucose levels in the blood rise despite your body’s attempt to control the glucose by churning out more and more insulin. The ethnic background and family history are also playing a role in the development of metabolic syndrome.

Risk factors

Here are some factors which can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome:

  • Diabetes: You are having more chances to get metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during the pregnancy (known as gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity: If you are carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, it is increasing your risk for metabolic syndrome.
  • Race: There are some studies in which are shown that in the United States of America, the Mexican – Americans are having the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Age: People are having increased risk of getting metabolic syndrome when they are getting older.
  • Other disease: If you ever had cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovary syndrome or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, then you have increased chances of getting metabolic syndrome.

Complications: If you have metabolic syndrome, then you have increased chances of developing:

  • Cardiovascular disease: It is known that the high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can increase the buildup of plaques in your arteries. These plaques can narrow and they can harden your arteries so this could lead to stroke or heart attack.
  • Diabetes: It is known fact that if you do not make lifestyle changes to control your excess weight which can be a reason for insulin resistance, then your glucose levels will continue to increase. You are having increased chances of developing diabetes.


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