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What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

What is Metabolic Syndrome

  • Metabolism is the sum of different processes in the body by which material substances are produced, maintained and destroyed.The word syndrome means a combination or group of different symptoms that characterize a specific disease or illness.
  • Two widely accepted definitions for syndrome exist, provided by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). T


The term metabolic is related to metabolism. Metabolism is the sum of different processes in the body by which material substances are produced, maintained and destroyed.

The word syndrome means a combination or group of different symptoms that characterize a specific disease or illness. What becomes obvious from this explanation is that metabolic syndrome is connected with a group of symptoms caused by the malfunctioning metabolic processes and a link exists to specific diseases.

It is thought that the term metabolic syndrome was used first in the 1950s, but it wasn’t in common use that time, becoming better known later.

Two widely accepted definitions for metabolic syndrome exist, provided by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The only difference between the two definitions is an approach to waist circumference. The IDF doesn’t deem that metabolic syndrome takes place if there is no increased waist circumference, whereas the NHLBI considers metabolic syndrome and its effects based on other criteria. Here is an example of a definition given by the NHLBIs National Cholesterol Education Program:

1. Central obesity: waist circumference ? 102 cm or 40 inches (male), ? 88 cm or 36 inches (female)
2. Blood pressure ? 130/85 mmHg
3. Dyslipidaemia: TG ? 1.695 mmol/L (150 mg/dl)
4. Dyslipidaemia: HDL-C < 40 mg/dL (male), < 50 mg/dL (female)
5. Fasting plasma glucose ? 6.1 mmol/L (110 mg/dl)

Other definitions exist as well, provided by The World Health Organization, The European Group for the Study of Insulin Resistance and others.


Metabolic syndrome leads to an increased of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The etiology of metabolic syndrome is not clear, but provoking factors are aging, lifestyle and genetics. Symptoms of this syndrome are elevated levels of triglycerides, decreased high density levels (HDL) of cholesterol, obesity (visceral), hypertension and fasting hyperglycemia.

Many ideas and strategies have been proposed, aimed at preventing metabolic syndrome. Some of these include increased physical activity and decreasing carbohydrate intake. Sometimes drug treatment is necessary. Different disorders caused by metabolic syndrome are treated separately. Some drugs could be used to diminish the low density levels (LDL) of cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the presence of HDL of cholesterol.

It’s important to do what you can in order to prevent metabolic syndrome.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.