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Alternative NamesInsulin resistance syndrome; Syndrome X
Definition Return to top
Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of symptoms that occur together and promote the development of coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Causes Return to top
Metabolic syndrome is becoming more and more common in the United States.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with many conditions and risk factors. The two most important risk factors are:
Researchers are not sure whether the syndrome is due to one single cause. But many experts believe that insulin resistance is the main cause. Insulin helps blood sugar (glucose) enter cells.
If you have insulin resistance, your body doesn't respond to insulin and blood sugar can't get into cells. As a result, the body produces more and more insulin. Insulin and blood sugar levels rise, affecting kidney function and raising the level of blood fats, such as triglycerides.
Other risk factors include:
Symptoms Return to top
Alone, the symptoms can cause medical issues. Combined, they can present severe health problems.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests that may be done to diagnose metabolic syndrome include:
According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, metabolic syndrome is present if you have three or more of the following:
Treatment Return to top
The goal of treatment is to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes or medicines to help reduce your blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Smoking should be avoided.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
People with metabolic syndrome have an increased long-term risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have signs or symptoms of this condition.
Prevention Return to top
Preventing (and managing) the condition involves:
References Return to top
AACE Thyroid Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the Evaluation and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8 (6).
Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation. 2006; 114:82-96.
Lakka T, Laaksonen DE. Physical activity in prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007; 32(1):76-88.
Grundy SM, Cleeman JI, Daniels SR, Donato KA, Eckel RH, Franklin BA,et al. American Heart Association; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institue. Diagnosis and management of the metabolic syndrome. An American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Scientific Statement. Cardiol Rev. 2005;13:322-327.Update Date: 6/17/2008 Updated by: Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.