Once known in the medical community as “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although it sounds mysterious, Syndrome X is very common.
As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome. Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:
- Age — Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
- Race — In the United States, Mexican-Americans appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
- Obesity — Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
- Diabetes — You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- Other diseases — Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome.
The good news is that with changes to diet and exercise, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as part of the condition. Because your risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age, it’s important to start adjusting your health habits early on.
If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes will likely be the prescription. While medication is often necessary for those with this diagnosis, changes in diet and exercise can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems related to metabolic syndrome.
If you are looking for treatment for severe obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our expert team can help find the right treatment for you.