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Metabolic Syndrome Explained

Researchers say that in the United States, there are approximately 47 million adults who have metabolic syndrome — and the number is increasing. This is a set of risk factors that increases the likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

 The risk factors that comprise metabolic syndrome are: abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol levels (high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol), elevated blood pressure and elevated fasting blood sugar.

 The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. One risk factor increases the odds of heart disease.

 Generally, metabolic syndrome increases the chance of developing heart problems twofold, and diabetes fivefold. Being overweight, obese, having a sedentary lifestyle, and insulin resistance increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is the inability of the body to use the hormone insulin properly leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

 Factors that contribute to heart disease but are not part of metabolic syndrome are advanced age, genetics (ethnicity, family history) and smoking.

 The good news is that the risks for developing diseases are preventable. Leading a healthy lifestyle can successfully control metabolic syndrome. A lifelong commitment to reduce the risks can lead to better outcomes.

 This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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