According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have metabolic syndrome. What is it exactly? Let’s find out.
Metabolic syndrome is essentially a cluster of risk factors that include abdominal fat, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The combination of all of these risk factors can cause serious health problems, including a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must have at least three of these conditions.
While there’s isn’t a singular reason as to why some people develop metabolic syndrome, there are some characteristics that can play a role.
- Age – As a person ages, his or her risk for metabolic syndrome increases as well. This is why a yearly visit to a primary care physician to monitor overall health and any pre-existing condition is so important.
- Obesity – Researchers are seeing a connection between metabolic syndrome and obesity, especially in the abdominal area.
- Lifestyle – A diet comprised of high-calorie processed foods paired with a lack of physical activity can contribute to metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is most commonly correlated with being overweight or obese, as well as a lack of physical activity.
There are no outward symptoms of metabolic syndrome itself, since most of the disorders that are associated with the condition do not have symptoms. However, a larger waistline and symptoms often associated with diabetes such as blurred vision, dry mouth, and fatigue can possibly intimate that metabolic syndrome is at the source.
The treatment for metabolic syndrome usually requires extreme lifestyle changes in diet and exercise to control the issues that are associated with these conditions. However, additional medications to control existing conditions such as high blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol may be prescribed.
If you have at least one condition that’s associated with metabolic syndrome, schedule an appointment with your doctor to be tested for others and to determine the right next steps for you.