Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X (sounds like a spy movie villain, right?), refers to a collection of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease that includes abdominal obesity (belly fat), high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides (another type of blood fat). The term "metabolic" refers to the natural processes involved in the body's normal functioning.
Like its villainous sounding name, Syndrome X can be a dangerous risk factor for other chronic conditions. Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It is known to be associated with brain changes and mental deficits in adults and teens. More than 3 million U.S. cases are diagnosed each year, but the good news is it can be preventable and treatable. You are more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you are overweight or don’t get enough exercise.
People who have metabolic syndrome often have one or more other factors that may be linked with the condition, including:
Do the Math There are five risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease. These risk factors are related to excess abdominal weight or problems metabolizing fat and sugar in your diet. While having any of the risk factors can mean trouble for your health, you need to have three or more to meet the definition of metabolic syndrome. If you’re not sure what any of your numbers are, ask your doctor.
Print this article, and check each risk factor that you have to take in with you:
Risk ManagementIf you meet the definition of metabolic syndrome or have any of these risk factors, remember that certain risk factors are inherited and others can be changed by making healthy choices. Talk to your doctor and begin to take the following steps to protect your health.
Are you at risk for metabolic syndrome? Talk to your doctor about making lifestyle choices to manage your risks.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, Reuters.com
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