Metabolic syndrome is a group of mildly elevated risk factors that are among the most accurate indicators of those predisposed to developing coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The American Heart Association (AHA) defines metabolic syndrome as having three or more of the following:
- Waist measuring 35 inches or more in women and 40 inches or more in men or a body mass index greater than 30.
- Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater.
- Low HDL (“good” cholesterol) of less than 40 mg/dL in men and less than 50 in women.
- High blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or greater.
- Fasting glucose level of 110 mg/dL or more.
About 47 million Americans—or about one in five—have metabolic syndrome. While the numbers increase with age, metabolic syndrome appears in a significant percent of younger adults, too.
Research has shown that despite having a low risk for heart disease based on standard guidelines, subjects with metabolic syndrome had a significantly higher risk for hardening of the arteries than the average person.
Metabolic syndrome, which includes diabetes or prediabetes, abdominal obesity, abnormal lipid profile and hypertension, increases the risk for heart attack or stroke threefold and doubles the chance for death from these conditions. It also increases the risk for developing diabetes five fold.
Diagnosis of metabolic syndrome identifies individuals at risk for early development of cardiovascular disease and provides the opportunity to target early intervention for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and their complications.