The term “metabolic syndrome” is used to describe a constellation of risk factors that usually occur together predisposing adults to develop type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), or both. They include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. These factors, many of which are linked to obesity, inactivity and an unhealthy diet, are on the rise, especially in younger people.
Having any one of these conditions alone doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome, but it does mean you have a greater risk of serious disease. And the more of these conditions you develop, the higher your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome don’t have visible signs or symptoms. That said, one very obvious sign is that of a visibly large waist circumference! And if your blood sugar is high, you might also notice other signs and symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to being overweight or obese and to inactivity. Lifestyle changes, including getting regular exercise, losing weight, eating a heart-healthy diet and not smoking can help delay or even prevent the development of these serious health problems.
It’s important to partner with your health team to map out steps to manage your risk. Catch potential metabolic dysfunction early to reduce the risk of CVD and diabetes, because prevention is most certainly better than a cure!
Metabolic syndrome can be treated, and you can reduce your risks for cardiovascular events by:
Maintaining normal blood pressure
Keeping your blood sugar in check
Controlling your cholesterol
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
Eating a heart-healthy diet
Getting enough physical activity
Following the advice of your health care team