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Metabolic syndrome

Insulin resistance syndrome; Syndrome X

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.

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Causes

Metabolic syndrome is very common in the United States. About one fourth of Americans are affected. 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

Your health care provider will examine you. You'll be asked about your overall health and any symptoms you're having. Blood tests may be ordered to check your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

You'll likely be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome 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. Ask your provider for help quitting. There are medicines and programs that can help you 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.

Related Information

Coronary heart disease
Stroke
Type 2 diabetes
Hardening of the arteries
Obesity
Heart attack

References

American Heart Association website. About metabolic syndrome. www.heart.org/en/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome/about-metabolic-syndrome. Updated August 2016. Accessed July 8, 2018.

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.

US Department of Health and Human Services, President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition website. Physical activity guidelines for Americans. www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html. Updated April 28, 2017. Accessed July 8, 2018.

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Review Date: 5/17/2018  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 11-30-18: Editorial update.

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