What is metabolic syndrome?


Quick Answer

"Metabolic syndrome" is a term for a group of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels, that when combined increase an individual's risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, plaque accumulates in the heart's arteries, reducing flow to the heart muscle and leading to chest pain, a heart attack or stroke.

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Full Answer

Symptoms of metabolic syndrome are similar to the symptoms of the individual conditions that make up the syndrome, including having a large waist, having a high blood sugar level and having increased blood pressure. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, having a low HDL cholesterol level and a high triglyceride level are also signs of metabolic risk. Mayo Clinic states that having three out of these five symptoms diagnoses an individual with metabolic syndrome, as outlined by the National Institutes of Health.

Treatments involve a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Losing weight, eating a well-balanced and healthy diet, and exercising regularly are highly recommended, and cigarette smokers are encouraged to quit smoking. Medications such as statins and nicotinic acid are used to treat high cholesterol levels, while low-dose aspirin is used to reduce the risk of blood clots.

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