Nearly 35% of all U.S. adults and an astounding 50% of those 60 years of age or older are estimated to have a syndrome that makes them twice as likely to develop heart disease and 5 times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have this syndrome. The disorder is called metabolic syndrome, and it involves a group of 5 risk factors that increase the risks of developing several potentially deadly conditions.
What is metabolic syndrome?
It’s a group of risk factors that increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The 5 risk factors are:
- increased blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels
- excess fat around the waist
- high triglyceride levels
- low levels of good cholesterol, or HDL
Having one of these risk factors alone doesn’t mean one has metabolic syndrome. However, having just one does increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Having three or more of these factors is considered as having metabolic syndrome.
What are the risk factors for metabolic syndrome?
The risk factors are related mostly to obesity. The two most important risk factors are defined by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as:
- excess fat around the middle and upper parts of the body
- insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for the body to use sugar
Other factors that can increase risk for metabolic syndrome include:
- family history of metabolic syndrome
- not getting enough exercise
- women with polycystic ovary syndrome
What are the complications of metabolic syndrome?
Complications that can result from metabolic syndrome are often grave and chronic. They include:
- hardening of the arteries
- heart attack
- kidney disease
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- peripheral artery disease
- cardiovascular disease
If diabetes develops, additional health complications may result including:
- eye damage
- nerve damage
- kidney disease
- amputation of limbs
How is metabolic syndrome treated?
If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, your doctor will probably recommend lifestyle changes that may include losing between 7-10% of your current weight and getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five to seven days a week. They may also suggest that you quit smoking.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
What is the outlook for patients with metabolic syndrome?
People who take their doctor’s advice and lose weight will reduce their chances of developing serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke. However, for many who are obese and haven’t been successful with diet changes and exercising, more intensive treatment like bariatric surgery might be needed.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors and team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.