Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters

Metabolic syndrome may be diagnosed when a patient has a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Individuals with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes when compared with individuals who do not have metabolic syndrome. Risk increases when more components of metabolic syndrome are present.

Metabolic syndrome is also associated with a generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, which prevents people from using insulin efficiently. Therefore, metabolic syndrome is also sometimes called insulin resistance syndrome.

People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for the following:

  • Coronary heart disease and heart attack. When the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits called plaque, they decrease the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the heart, which can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. This causes sugars to build up in the blood and increases risks for kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.

About 23% of U.S. adults have metabolic syndrome. Although these risks are significant, there is good news. Metabolic syndrome can be treated and you can reduce your risks for cardiovascular events by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a heart-healthy diet, getting adequate physical activity, and following your healthcare providers' instructions.