What is metabolic syndrome? 

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, or other health risks associated with being overweight or obese.

Belly fat and insulin resistance

What are the 5 components of metabolic syndrome?

The five components of the metabolic syndrome that relate to CVD:

  1. abdominal obesity with waist circumference of >40 inches in men and 35 inches in women (lower by 5 in Asians),
  2. atherogenic dyslipidemia such as elevated Triglycerides of over 150 and
  3. low good cholesterol (HDL of <50),
  4. raised blood pressure or taking blood pressure medications,
  5. fasting blood sugar of 100 or more or a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes (or other signs of insulin resistance ± glucose intolerance, proinflammatory and prothrombotic states).

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

Through a combination of physical exam and blood work

  • Fasting glucose test. This test measures blood glucose(fasting) done in the morning. Fasting glucose levels of 100 to 125 mg/dL are above normal but not high enough to be called diabetes are said to have pre-diabetes.
  • Glucose tolerance test. This test measures blood glucose after people fast for at least 8 hours and 2 hours after they drink a sweet liquid provided by a doctor or laboratory. A blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL means glucose tolerance is not normal but is not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. This form of pre-diabetes is called IGT and, like IFG, it points toward a history of insulin resistance and a risk for developing diabetes

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Most of the metabolic risk factors have no signs or symptoms, although a large waistline is a visible sign.

Since its inception in 2011, W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss program has successfully helped thousands of patients succeed in not only losing weight but also keep it off with an ongoing maintenance plan.

neck lines sign of insulin resistance

neck lines sign of insulin resistance

How common is metabolic syndrome?

One in three Americans currently meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome and another third have some early signs of insulin resistance which is a precursor to metabolic syndrome.

CDC statistics on metabolic syndrome

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Frequently asked questions regarding metabolic syndrome

Glossary of terms

metabolic – adj. undergoing metamorphosis; of or relating to metabolism
syndrome – noun a complex of concurrent things; a pattern of symptoms indicative of some disease
genetic – adj. of or relating to the science of genetics; pertaining to or referring to origin; tending to occur among members of a family usually by heredity; of or relating to or produced by or being a gene
metabolism – noun the organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life; the marked and rapid transformation of a larva into an adult that occurs in some animals
condition – noun the procedure that is varied in order to estimate a variable’s effect by comparison with a control condition; an assumption on which rests the validity or effect of something else; (usually plural) a statement of what is required as part of an agreement; a mode of being or form of existence of a person or thing; a state at a particular time; the state of (good) health (especially in the phrases `in condition’ or `in shape’ or `out of condition’ or `out of shape’); information that should be kept in mind when making a decision; verb apply conditioner to in order to make smooth and shiny; put into a better state; establish a conditioned response; specify as a condition or requirement in a contract or agreement; make an express demand or provision in an agreement; train by instruction and practice; especially to teach self-control
ketosis – noun an abnormal increase of ketone bodies in the blood as in diabetes mellitus
Metformin – noun an antidiabetic drug (trade name Glucophage) prescribed to treat type II diabetes
food – noun any substance that can be metabolized by an organism to give energy and build tissue; anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking; any solid substance (as opposed to liquid) that is used as a source of nourishment
diet – noun the act of restricting your food intake (or your intake of particular foods); the usual food and drink consumed by an organism (person or animal); a prescribed selection of foods; a legislative assembly in certain countries (e.g., Japan); verb eat sparingly, for health reasons or to lose weight; follow a regimen or a diet, as for health reasons
fatigue – noun (always used with a modifier) boredom resulting from overexposure to something; temporary loss of strength and energy resulting from hard physical or mental work; used of materials (especially metals) in a weakened state caused by long stress; labor of a nonmilitary kind done by soldiers (cleaning or digging or draining or so on); verb exhaust or get tired through overuse or great strain or stress; get tired of something or somebody
hypertension – noun a common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater)
weight – noun an artifact that is heavy; sports equipment used in calisthenic exercises and weightlifting; it is not attached to anything and is raised and lowered by use of the hands and arms; the vertical force exerted by a mass as a result of gravity; the relative importance granted to something; an oppressive feeling of heavy force; (statistics) a coefficient assigned to elements of a frequency distribution in order to represent their relative importance; a unit used to measure weight; a system of units used to express the weight of something; verb present with a bias; weight down with a load
obesity – noun more than average fatness
diabetes – noun any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive urination and persistent thirst
blood – noun temperament or disposition; the fluid (red in vertebrates) that is pumped by the heart; people viewed as members of a group; the descendants of one individual; a dissolute man in fashionable society; verb smear with blood, as in a hunting initiation rite, where the face of a person is smeared with the blood of the kill
test – noun the act of testing something; the act of undergoing testing; any standardized procedure for measuring sensitivity or memory or intelligence or aptitude or personality etc; a hard outer covering as of some amoebas and sea urchins; trying something to find out about it; a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge; verb undergo a test; determine the presence or properties of (a substance); achieve a certain score or rating on a test; put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to; show a certain characteristic when tested; examine someone’s knowledge of something; test or examine for the presence of disease or infection
waist – noun the narrowing of the body between the ribs and hips; the narrow part of the shoe connecting the heel and the wide part of the sole
fat – adj. a chubby body; having much flesh (especially fat); marked by great fruitfulness; lucrative; having a relatively large diameter; containing or composed of fat; noun a soft greasy substance occurring in organic tissue and consisting of a mixture of lipids (mostly triglycerides); excess bodily weight; a kind of body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy; it also cushions and insulates vital organs; verb make fat or plump
insulin – noun hormone secreted by the isles of Langerhans in the pancreas; regulates storage of glycogen in the liver and accelerates oxidation of sugar in cells
glucose – noun a monosaccharide sugar that has several forms; an important source of physiological energy
cholesterol – noun an animal sterol that is normally synthesized by the liver; the most abundant steroid in animal tissues
inflammation – noun arousal to violent emotion; a response of body tissues to injury or irritation; characterized by pain and swelling and redness and heat; the act of setting something on fire; the state of being emotionally aroused and worked up
atherosclerosis – noun a stage of arteriosclerosis involving fatty deposits (atheromas) inside the arterial walls

Insulin resistance – Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.


Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance or whose beta cells in the pancreas aren’t making enough insulin to keep blood glucose in the normal range. Without enough insulin, extra glucose stays in your bloodstream rather than entering your cells. Over time, you could develop type 2 diabetes.

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