Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a large waist circumference (due to excess abdominal fat), high blood pressure, resistance to the effects of insulin (insulin resistance) or diabetes, and abnormal levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood (dyslipidemia).
Excess abdominal fat increases the risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes.
To diagnose metabolic syndrome, doctors measure waist circumference, blood pressure, and fasting blood sugar and fat (lipid) levels.
Exercise, changes in eating habits, behavioral techniques, and drugs may be used to help people lose weight.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal blood cholesterol and fat levels are treated.
In developed countries, metabolic syndrome is a serious problem. In the United States, more than 40% of people over 50 may have it. Even children and adolescents can develop metabolic syndrome, but how many have it is unknown.
Metabolic syndrome is more likely to develop when people store excess fat in the abdomen (apple-shaped) rather than around the hips (pear-shaped). The following people tend to store excess fat in the abdomen:
Storing excess fat in the abdomen increases the risk of the following:
Metabolic syndrome itself causes no symptoms.