There are no symptoms for metabolic syndrome itself. Too much weight in the belly is one risk factor.
Many of these tests are done as part of routine check ups. Metabolic syndrome is test results show 3 or more of these:
Fasting glucose level—100 mg/dL* (5.55 mmol/L) or higher
Triglyceride level—150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or higher
HDL cholesterol—40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) or less in men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women
Blood pressure—130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher
Waist that is 40 inches or more in men or 35 inches or more in women
*mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter of blood, mmol/L = millimoles per liter of blood
The goal of treatment is to cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Steps may treat issues that caused metabolic syndrome or other heart disease risk factors. Lifestyle changes may play a large role. Medicine may be needed if lifestyle changes are not enough to lower risk.
The first step is often lifestyle changes. This may include:
30 to 60 minutes of exercise 5 or more days per week, should use effort level that leads to increase in heart rate and breathing
Healthy diet choices such as:
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
Lean meats, poultry, and fish
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
Limit or avoid processed foods or other foods high in saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugar
Proper portion sizes
Weight loss—goal to decrease waist size below risk level and keep weight off
These steps can help to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They can also affect problems with insulin which can lead to diabetes. These changes can make large changes for some people. Others may need medical care.
Medicine may be needed to treat factors that lead to metabolic syndrome. They may also decrease the risk of heart disease. Options include medicine to:
Lower blood pressure
Lower insulin resistance and risk of diabetes
Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Lower clotting in the blood—a risk factor for heart disease and stroke
To decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome:
Eat a balanced diet.
Reach and keep a healthy weight.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Explore metabolic syndrome. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms. Accessed October 31, 2019.
Metabolic syndrome. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/Metabolic-Syndrome_UCM_002080_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed October 31, 2019.
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