There are over 3 million cases of metabolic syndrome each year in the US. The syndrome involves a cluster of conditions that occur simultaneously. If a person has just one of the conditions, that person does not necessarily have metabolic syndrome. But having one of the conditions can increase the risk of serious disease.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Many of the disorders clustered in metabolic syndrome have no symptoms. However, doctors will look for three or more specific signs. Some of these include:
- Central obesity: in men, this is a waist circumference greater than 40 inches, in women, greater than 35 inches.
- Triglyceride levels higher than 150.
- An HDL cholesterol level lower than 40 in men and lower than 50 in women.
- Blood pressure above 130/85.
- Fasting glucose above 100.
WHO GETS METABOLIC SYNDROME?
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to get metabolic syndrome than those who maintain a healthy weight. The condition has also been linked to insulin resistance.
INFERTILITY IN MEN AND WOMEN
Metabolic syndrome can affect fertility in men. This is because the quality of sperm is negatively affected. Metabolic syndrome can also affect female fertility by interrupting the regular menstrual cycle. Women who suffer from metabolic syndrome may be able to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) using eggs from a donor.
The aim is to treat underlying causes, such as obesity and any cardiovascular issues, and to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Many people who have metabolic syndrome are overweight and live sedentary lifestyles. The first line of treatment is to make lifestyle changes. These include adjusting the diet and introducing exercise. Stopping smoking is also an essential component.
MEDICATION MAY BE NEEDED
Sometimes lifestyle changes are not enough. In this case, the doctor may recommend drugs to control cholesterol or glucose levels. Blood pressure medications may also be recommended. People who suffer from metabolic syndrome often benefit from joining a support group. Patients should talk to a healthcare provider about treatment options on an individual basis.