Metabolic syndrome

Definition

Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the chance of having coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Alternative Names

Insulin resistance syndrome; Syndrome X

Causes

Metabolic syndrome is becoming very common in the United States. Doctors are not sure whether the syndrome is due to one single cause. But many of the risks for the syndrome are related to obesity.

The two most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome are:

Other risk factors include:

People who have metabolic syndrome often have one or more other factors that may be linked with the condition, including:

Exams and Tests

Metabolic syndrome is present if you have three or more of the following signs:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Your health care provider will recommend lifestyle changes or medicines:

Your provider may recommend daily low-dose aspirin.

If you smoke, now is the time to quit.

Outlook (Prognosis)

People with metabolic syndrome have an increased long-term risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and poor blood supply to the legs.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have signs or symptoms of this condition.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity basics. Updated June 4, 2015. www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics. Accessed June 29, 2016.

Raynor HA, Champagne CM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: interventions for the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(1):129-147. PMID: 26718656. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26718656.

Ruderman NB, Shulman GI. Metabolic syndrome. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 43.


Review Date: 5/17/2016
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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