A metabolic syndrome is a group of different conditions that may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Most common conditions in metabolic syndrome include an increase in blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Metabolic syndrome is quite common, and researchers have pointed out that more than 1 in 5 Indians are suffering from this syndrome. It is not a disease in itself but a group of risk factors that increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Thankfully, one can control these factors with some medications and lifestyle changes.
There will be no apparent signs or symptoms of metabolic syndrome in most cases. However, one of the common sign is the large waist circumference, which is more than 40 inches. Apart from this, other signs are:
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of different conditions, so it is impossible to pinpoint a single cause. However, the condition is closely linked to obesity and inactivity. Moreover, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and more may also cause metabolic syndrome. Other causes of this condition may be the following:
Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone that helps to convert glucose into energy. However, with insulin resistance, the body makes more and more of it to cope with the increased glucose level due to excess weight.
Obesity: One of the major causes of metabolic syndrome is linked to obesity, especially abdominal obesity.
Hormonal imbalance: Certain conditions that may cause hormonal imbalance like PCOS may also result in metabolic syndrome.
Unhealthy lifestyle: Eating unhealthy food or processed foods and doing regular physical activity can also lead to metabolic syndrome.
Smoking: People who smoke are at higher risk of getting metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome can be diagnosed if there are more than three conditions, including:
Obesity: Men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women more significant than 35 inches
High triglycerides: 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more, or taking medicines for high triglycerides.
Low HDL cholesterol: A high-density lipoprotein level less than 40 mg/dL in men and less than 50 mg/dL in women.
High blood pressure: Blood pressure higher than 130/85 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) or taking high blood pressure medicine.
High fasting sugar: A high blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL or more.
Once diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the goal of the treatment is to reduce the risk of developing further complications. Depending upon the condition, the doctor may suggest the following treatments for metabolic syndrome:
Lifestyle Changes: The doctor may recommend following a strict diet and exercise regime to reduce weight and other cardiovascular risks. The doctor will also recommend eating a healthy diet, focusing on regular exercise, being more physically active, reducing junk or processed food, stopping smoking, and more for a healthy lifestyle.
Medications: If lifestyle change alone is not enough for treating risk factors for metabolic syndrome, the doctor will prescribe some medicines with it as well. The medications are used to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce high blood pressure, improve HDL cholesterol, and low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Bariatric Surgery: If one fails to lose weight after diet and exercise, the doctor may recommend going for bariatric surgery or weight-loss surgery. The surgery is done to change the digestive system to help lose weight.
The following factors may increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, including:
Large waist size
Family history of diabetes
There are specific ways through which one can prevent metabolic syndrome. One of the essential parts is to maintain a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Apart from this, one might follow these steps to prevent metabolic syndrome:
Maintain a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Drink ample amount of water and avoid sugary beverages
Regular physical activity to reduce risk factors
Limit consumption of processed food or junk food
Maintain proper BMI
There might be severe and long-term complications if the metabolic syndrome is left untreated. These may include: