How Metabolic Syndrome Affects Your Health

 How Metabolic Syndrome Affects Your Health

People suffering from the syndrome have a cluster of physiological and biochemical abnormalities that can cause type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Here is a list of the cluster of Metabolic Syndrome factors and how they affect your health.

  • High Blood Pressure (130/80 mm Hg and above)- when blood pressure rises and stays high for a long, it causes damage to your blood vessels and your heart. Also, high blood pressure often builds up plaque in the arteries.
  • Large Waistline – also referred to as abnormal obesity. You have too much fat around the stomach or waist area. A waistline larger than 35” (women) and 40” (men) is considered a sign of obesity. It dramatically increases the risk of getting heart disease.
  • High Blood Sugar (100 mg/dL and above)- high blood sugar can cause damage to blood vessels as it causes the development of blood clots. This can cause blood vessel and heart diseases.
  • High Blood Triglycerides (150 mg/dL and above) – triglycerides are naturally found in the blood. However, they raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of contracting heart disease when they are at high levels.
  • Low Levels of Good Cholesterol (40 mg/dL and below for men, 50 mg/dL and below for women) – when the level of good cholesterol lowers, bad cholesterol increases. This can cause the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels, leading to stroke and heart attacks.

Individuals who experience three or more of the above-mentioned factors should get diagnosed. The syndrome can also cause:

  • Fatty liver
  • PCOS
  • Asthma
  • Cholesterol Gallstones
  • Cancer
  • Sleep Problems

Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes

People suffering from the above-described cluster of factors often have insulin resistance. Most of them suffer from obesity, which reduces the effectiveness of insulin in the cells. Suppose insulin resistance surpasses the body’s ability to produce insulin, and blood sugar levels increase. This causes type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome often marks the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Causes of the Syndrome

Even though a medical cause is yet to be found, several factors are tied to the syndrome. Sedentary lifestyles and obesity contribute to the most significant percentage of the risk factors. They cause high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance and can cause type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

There is no direct link between insulin resistance and the syndrome, but the two are closely tied. Some healthcare professionals believe that the syndrome is caused by insulin resistance, while others believe hormonal changes lead to higher cholesterol and triglycerides, insulin resistance, and abnormal obesity.

Risk Factors

Understanding the risk factors that can cause the manifestation of the syndrome can help you take precautions to ensure your health.

  • Ethnicity – the syndrome is diagnose more commonly in Mexican Americans and African Americans, with the men being 60% less likely to contract the syndrome than the women.
  • Age – the chances of contracting the syndrome increase the older you get. Having a Body Mass Index over 25 – individuals suffering from obesity are at the most significant risk of contracting the syndrome.
  • Having a Family History of Diabetes – women who have had gestational diabetes and those with family histories of diabetes are at significant risk of getting the syndrome.
  • Smoking
  • Heavy Drinking
  • Stress
  • High-fat Diets
  • Being Past Menopause
  • Having a Sedentary Lifestyle

Signs and Symptoms

The syndrome generally does not cause any symptoms. Signs include;

  • Having High Blood Pressure
  • Having High Triglycerides
  • Obesity

Signs of insulin resistance, which is directly tied to the syndrome, include the development of dark skin patches around the armpits, under the breasts, and back of the neck.


Medical professionals have developed the following criteria for the diagnosis of the syndrome:

  • The Patient Has a BMI Over 25
  • The patient has abdominal obesity
  • Low Levels of Good Cholesterol
  • High Levels of Triglycerides
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Increased Blood Clotting
  • High Blood Sugar Levels
  • Insulin Resistance


On diagnosis of the syndrome, your doctor might recommend:

  • Lifestyle management. This includes losing weight, avoiding heavy drinking, and quitting smoking
  • Changing Your Diet
  • Exercising
  • Medicine

Bottom Line

The syndrome can significantly increase your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases and type 2 diabetes. This means that individuals suffering from the syndrome should prioritize treatment to prevent the development of severe conditions.

Maggie Bloom

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