Over 50 million Americans have a cluster of symptoms known as “metabolic syndrome,” and even more are at risk of this increasingly common disease. You may have metabolic syndrome, which is also known as Syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, and dysmetabolic syndrome, if you have three or more of the following symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels
- High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood
- Low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in your blood
- Too much fat around your waist (specifically a waistline of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women (measured across the belly))
What makes metabolic syndrome so dangerous is that this cluster of symptoms significantly increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
While several factors appear to cause metabolic syndrome, the dominant underlying risk factors for this syndrome appear to be abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. The food you eat normally gets broken down into sugar (glucose), which enters your cells for fuel. Insulin is made by your pancreas to help the glucose enter cells.