What is Metabolic Syndrome and Are You at Risk?

by Margaret Stoklosa

Metabolic syndrome or MetS is a group of conditions that taken together increases the risk of type II diabetes, coronary artery disease, and all-cause mortality.  

While definitions vary based on the organization providing guidelines, the International Diabetes Federation (1) in conjunction with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association, the World Heart Association, the International Atherosclerosis Society and the International Association for the Study of Obesity issued a new definition in 2009 to serve as a catchall. In order to meet the criteria of MetS at least three of the five below must be present: 

  • Fasting blood glucose >=100 mg/dL (including those with diabetes) 
  • Blood pressure >=130/85 mmHg or being treated for hypertension 
  • Triglycerides >=150g/dL or being treated for hypertriglyceridemia 
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) <40 mg/dL in men or <50mg/dL in women or being treated for dyslipidemia 
  • Abdominal adiposity as defined by population (United States >40in for men, >35in for women; Europids/ Sub-Saharan Africans/ Eastern Mediterraneans  >37in for men, >31in for women; Ethnic Central and South Americans/ South Asians >35in in men, >31in in women; Chinese/ Japanese >35in in men, >31in in women) 

The way glucose is shuttled and processed is impacted in those with MetS.  Thus, dietary and lifestyle changes are needed to stop the runaway disease process. It is vital to intervene as soon as possible, as prolonging intervention may impact pancreatic beta cells and ultimately the ability to produce insulin. Incorporating movement is one of the first initial strategies as active muscle does not require the help of insulin to shuttle glucose. Dietary strategies vary based on lifestyle patterns, stage of life, and specific MetS criteria.  If you are concerned about MetS, please schedule your nutritional consult today. 

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