Metabolic syndrome also known as Syndrome X is the name given when people have several medical disorders at the same time. The syndrome includes:
- Central obesity (an apple shape or a large waistline), where one's fat is localized around the middle
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- Low HDL-cholesterol
- Insulin resistance (the body can't properly control blood sugar levels)
The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is given if 3 or more of these factors occur. Exercise, weight loss, and nutrition changes can reduce the risks of metabolic syndrome and the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Decreasing sodium intake, simple sugars, and low-fiber carbohydrates while adding fish and monounsaturated oils to the diet can improve triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and blood pressure. Exercise and moderate calorie reduction can promote weight loss and decrease central obesity.
The more components that are improved, the fewer risks to your health.
Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Previously reviewed by Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (6/17/2008).
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