Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. These risk factors include:
- Central Obesity (fat around the abdomen)
- Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders– high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol)
- Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance
- Prothrombotic state
- Raised blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher)
- Proinflammatory state
The underlying causes of this syndrome are overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and genetic factors. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls and type 2 diabetes.
The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the US. It’s estimated that 20-25 percent of US adults have it. The syndrome is closely associated with generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, where the body can’t use insulin efficiently. This is why it is often referred to the insulin resistance syndrome. Some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance. Other factors such as excess body fat and physical inactivity can elicit insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in these people. Most people with insulin resistance have central obesity.
There are no well-accepted criteria for diagnosing the metabolic syndrome. The criteria proposed by the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults are the most current and widely used. According to this criteria, it is often identified by three or more of these components:
- Central obesity as measured by waist circumference: Men — Greater than 40 inches and Women greater than 35 inches
- Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL
- Blood HDL cholesterol: Men– Less than 40 ml/dL and women less than 50 ml/dL
- Blood pressure greater or equal to 130/85 mmHg
- Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 110 mg/dL