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Metabolic Syndrome

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Metabolic Syndrome

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Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that occur together, which increases the likelihood of an individual getting heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Gupta Abhinav

Published At April 4, 2019
Reviewed AtDecember 8, 2022

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that occur together, which increases the likelihood of an individual getting heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood sugar.
  • Excess body fat in the waist.
  • High levels of triglycerides.
  • Low levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

The presence of any one of these risk factors does not mean the person has metabolic syndrome, but it does increase the risk of some severe illness. The other names used for metabolic syndrome are Insulin resistance syndrome, American syndrome, and Syndrome X. It is a prevalent disease, and more than 23 % of adults in the US have metabolic syndrome.

When these risk factors occur together, they can cause problems in blood vessels of the heart and can lead to heart attacks and strokes. They also increase the chances of diabetes. But, this syndrome can be controlled by drastic lifestyle changes.

What are the Causes?

The conditions that can cause metabolic syndrome are:

  • Insulin Resistance - Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which helps the body use sugar as energy. When this insulin does not regulate the glucose levels properly, the body keeps producing more insulin, which is called insulin resistance. This eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity - People who are obese and have excess fat deposition around the waist area are more susceptible to develop metabolic syndrome.
  • Unhealthy Diet - Consuming foods that are high in calories and fat content.
  • Other Conditions - Other conditions like fatty liver, sleep apnea, and smoking increase the risk of metabolic syndrome.

How is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

To diagnose metabolic syndrome, your doctor might check the circumference of your waist, and he or she may tell you to perform the following tests:

  1. Fasting blood glucose.

  2. Blood pressure.

  3. Cholesterol levels.

  4. Fasting triglyceride levels.

If your test shows abnormal levels in three of the above tests, it indicates metabolic syndrome.

What is the Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome?

The treatment options are:

1)Regular Exercise - Get at least 30 minutes of exercise like jogging, brisk walking, or running every day. Apart from exercise, keep yourself as active as possible, for example, take the steps instead of the lift or walk to the market instead of driving.

2)Weight loss - If you have insulin resistance, losing up to 10 % of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes and hypertension. If you are not able to lose weight even after trying everything, consider weight loss medications or surgery.

3)Eat Healthily - Include more vegetables, fruits, protein, and high-fiber food in your diet, and avoid sweet beverages, alcohol, salt, and trans or saturated fat containing food.

4)Quit Smoking - Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

5)Medication - If lifestyle changes are not sufficient, your doctor might give you antihypertensives, statins, and antidiabetic medicines to reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

What are the Risk Factors?

The risk factors as defined by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are:

Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome

You should have at least three of these risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

What are the Complications of Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome can cause chronic complications like:

  • Diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Heart attack.
  • Neuropathy.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver.

How to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome?

Follow these tips to prevent metabolic syndrome:

  • Exercise and weight loss can help you keep your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and waist circumference under check.
  • Consume food rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain.
  • Avoid processed food and sugary beverages.
  • Keep yourself physically active.
  • Get regular physical examinations.
  • Stop smoking.

It is crucial to diagnose this condition early to prevent chronic health complications. If you have already been diagnosed with this condition, then go for regular checkups so that your doctor can monitor and prevent problems like heart attack and stroke.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Reverse Metabolic Syndrome?

It is possible to make the symptoms of metabolic syndrome subside. Generally, metabolic syndrome involves various risk factors. It increases the chance of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. The ways to reverse it is by losing weight, doing exercises, and making dietary changes.


What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

The causes of metabolic syndrome are obesity and inactivity. It is associated with a physical health condition called insulin resistance. It is also caused by hereditary factors, sedentary lifestyle, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.


How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed by the following components:
- Central or abdominal obesity. It is measured by noting down the circumference of the waist.
- Increase in high-density lipids.
- Triglycerides more than the level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL).


What Foods Should You Avoid When You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

The foods that are to be avoided are foods that are rich in fats, highly refined foods, processed foods like white bread, sugars, and cereals. All these foods are known to be associated with metabolic syndrome.


Is Keto Diet Good for Metabolic Syndrome?

A ketogenic diet has shown significant improvement in adults with metabolic syndrome. Ketogenic diets are high in fat, very low carbohydrates, and very effective in lowering insulin levels, which in turn induce the body to break down body fat into ketones.


Which Is the Best Diet for Metabolic Syndrome?

The most appropriate method for preventing metabolic syndrome is by reducing your weight with routine exercises. Follow a proper diet plan, such as the Pritikin Eating Plan. It focuses on foods that are low in calorie density and high in fiber and nutrients naturally. Fiber and nutrients include whole-grain foods like corn, hot cereals, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta, fruits, vegetables, starchy foods like yams, potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils. It also includes seafood, poultry, and meat.


What can I drink in the morning to boost metabolism?

Drinking warm lemon water in the morning on a daily basis will boost metabolism. Lemon water will keep the body hydrated all the time and also enhances the metabolism. It helps your body to remove waste products. It also aids in proper digestion.


How Can I Kick Start My Metabolism?

These are the ways to kick-start your metabolism:
- Eating food with plenty of protein can increase your metabolism for certain hours.
- Do a high-intensity workout.
- Drink more cold water.
- Stand up more.
- Lift heavy things.
- Eat spicy foods.
- Drink green tea.
- Drink coffee.
- Get good sleep.
- Replace cooking fats with coconut oil.


How Do You Heal Metabolic Damage?

Four methods are known to heal the metabolic damage. They are:
- High-quality sleep for at least 8 hours per night is necessary.
- Take probiotic supplements or eat probiotic-rich foods.
- Meditate daily to be stress-free.
- Do metabolism-boosting workouts regularly.


Can Fasting Cure Metabolic Syndrome?

Intermittent or periodic fasting can help to resolve the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Necessary lifestyle and weight changes should be made to overcome metabolic syndrome. Many studies have shown that eating within a particular time period and maintaining a properly balanced diet can be a remedy for metabolic syndrome.
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Dr. Gupta Abhinav
Dr. Gupta Abhinav



weight losscardiovascular disease riskmetabolic syndromesedentary lifestyle
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