What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that have shown to increase risk for stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and heart attack). It may also contribute to urologic conditions like Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Patients must have at least 3 of the 5 criteria below to have metabolic syndrome:
- Fasting glucose ≥100 mg/dL (or receiving drug therapy for diabetes)
- Blood pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg (or receiving drug therapy for high blood pressure)
- Triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (or receiving drug therapy for high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream.
- HDL-C <40 mg/dL in men or <50 mg/dL in women (or receiving drug therapy for reduced HDL-C). HDL is a good cholesterol that helps reduce cardiovascular disease.
- Large waistline. Waist circumference ≥102 cm (40 in) in men or ≥88 cm (35 in) in women; if Asian American, ≥90 cm (35 in) in men or ≥80 cm (32 in) in women.
Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome
The primary risk factors for metabolic syndrome are obesity and physical inactivity, which can be prevented by mostly everyone. A risk factor that cannot be prevented is older age. Sleep apnea has been found to be closely related to metabolic syndrome as well.
Screening & Prevention
The best way to prevent metabolic syndrome is living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising often. Diets are not usually successful because they are often short-lived. What people need are long-term lifestyle changes. To find out your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels you will need to see your primary care doctor for lab tests.
What treatment is needed?
- Lifestyle modifications (Most important intervention)
- Diet: For most with metabolic syndrome, a diabetic diet will be beneficial. A Mediterranean diet has also been shown to be a good heart-healthy lifestyle choice.
- Avoid processed foods with and foods with high sugar content.
- Physical activity
- The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week AND moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
- Lose weight
- To control high blood sugar (diabetes)
- To control high triglycerides and high cholesterol
- Other modalities
- Sleep study to check for sleep apnea if the patient has a history of snoring, obesity, and fatigue.
Goals of treatment
The main goals of treatment are to prevent cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke. The other goal is to prevent Type 2 diabetes which also greatly increases risk for heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy and other systemic complications.