Metabolic Syndrome

The metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that can make you more likely to develop certain health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Learn more about metabolic syndrome ›

Metabolic Syndrome and Pre-Diabetes

One characteristic of metabolic syndrome is an increased level of glucose in the blood. This can also be a sign of pre-diabetes. When you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes increases. Your chance of developing heart disease and stroke goes up, too. The good news is that you can help control and possibly reverse pre-diabetes by making some basic lifestyle changes.

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The Threat of the Metabolic Syndrome

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that greatly raises your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors

The underlying causes that lead to the development of the metabolic syndrome are obesity and insulin resistance. According to the American College of Cardiology, these risk factors make up the syndrome:

  • A high level of triglycerides—more than 150 mg/dL
  • A low level of HDL ("good") cholesterol—below 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women
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The Link Between Heart Disease and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that can make you more likely to develop certain health conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Obesity, physical inactivity, and genetics can play a role in whether someone develops metabolic syndrome. The same factors also contribute to heart disease. Making positive lifestyle changes can help you take charge of metabolic syndrome and manage heart disease.

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Metabolic Syndrome Puts Teens at Risk

Your doctor may have told you to lose weight and watch your cholesterol. Now, your teen's doctor may be warning him or her to do the same.

The reason? "Syndrome X," or the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is a name given to a cluster of risk factors related to the body's metabolism that can lead to health problems down the road, including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes. The group of risk factors called the metabolic syndrome appears to be most common in people who have abdominal obesity. It is estimated that 8 to 9 percent of teens ages 12 to 19 have the metabolic syndrome and the rate has doubled in the past two decades.

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Could You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recognizes metabolic syndrome as a problem of growing concern, especially for those over age 60. Research suggests that more than 47 million Americans have it. Because the population of the United States is aging and because metabolic syndrome prevalence increases with age, the AHA has estimated that metabolic syndrome soon will become the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, ahead of cigarette smoking. Increasing rates of obesity are also thought to be related to the increasing rates of metabolic syndrome.

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Your Guide to Metabolic Syndrome

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