Metabolic Syndrome Treatment

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Belly fat, high blood pressure, issues with blood sugar – these are pretty common conditions. But, when you have these conditions together, it could mean you have metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that make it more likely you'll have heart disease, a stroke, or diabetes. If you have metabolic symdrome, you have at least 3 of these conditions:

  • Central obesity — a high amount of fat around the waist
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • High triglycerides — a type of fat measured in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar

Metabolic syndrome makes you more likely to have:

Metabolic Syndrome Treatment at UVA Health

It's important to treat the causes of your metabolic syndrome. Treatment may include:

  • Losing weight (by at least 10%)
  • More exercise (30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 4 or more days per week)
  • Lowering your blood pressure (to below 130/85 mmHg with diet, exercise, and possibly medicine)
  • Improve triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels (through diet, exercise, and possibly medicine)

Gastric bypass or other weight-loss surgery may help treat metabolic syndrome.

Treatment of Specific Metabolic Issues

Medicines can help you manage:

  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • High cholesterol
  • Clotting tendency

Metabolic Syndrome Prevention

To reduce your chances of getting metabolic syndrome, take these steps:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Exercise about 30 minutes at least four days per week.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.

Will I Get Metabolic Syndrome?

You're more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you:

  • Are Mexican-American, Caucasian, or African American ethnicity
  • Are obese
  • Have disorders or conditions associated with metabolic disorder, such as:
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Cholesterol problems
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a family history of the disorders listed above
  • Don't exercise
  • Have a poor diet
  • Have unhealthy habits, such as smoking
  • Take certain medications, such as atypical antipsychotics

How We Diagnose Your Metabolic Syndrome

We may diagnose you with metabolic syndrome if you have at least 3 of the following:

  • A waist measurement greater than 40 inches in Caucasian men (35 inches in Asian men) or 35 inches in Caucasian women (30 inches in Asian women)
  • Fasting glucose level greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL* (5.55 mmol/L)
  • Triglyceride level greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)
  • HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) in men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)

*mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter blood, mmol/L = millimoles per liter blood