The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions. Catching these underlying risk factors for metabolic syndrome will reduce your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Screening Guidelines

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), which is part of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, has published guidelines for screening and diagnosing metabolic syndrome. According to the NCEP guidelines, you have metabolic syndrome if you have at least three out of five of these conditions:

  1. Central obesity —This is especially the case if extra fat tissue is found in the waist area. In men, if waist is greater than 35 inches (90 cm); in women, if waist is greater than 31 inches (80 cm).
    • Screening : Get tested for signs of central obesity.
      • Measure waist circumference —Using a regular tape measure, your doctor will measure around your waist.
      • Calculate BMI —This is a measure of your weight in relation to your height to determine if you are overweight
      • Weigh yourself
  2. Elevated triglycerides—This is defined as fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L).
    • Screening : Have your doctor calculate your LDL-cholesterol levels by performing a lipid profile (which measures total cholesterol, serum triglyceride levels, HDL cholesterol levels, and LDL-cholesterol levels).
  3. Low HDL—This is defined as less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) in men, and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women.
    • Screening : Have your doctor calculate your LDL-cholesterol levels by performing a lipid profile (which measures total cholesterol, serum triglyceride levels, HDL cholesterol levels, and LDL-cholesterol levels).
  4. High blood pressure—This is defined as a blood pressure level greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg.
  5. Glucose intolerance—This is defined as a fasting blood glucose over 100 mg/dL (5.55 mmol/L).
    • Screening : Have your doctor measure your blood glucose.
      • Fasting glucose test—Your doctor will ask you to fast (not eat) for a few hours prior to the test. A blood sample will be taken from your arm and then tested for glucose levels. Your doctor may want to confirm this finding with the glucose tolerance test.
      • Glucose tolerance test (GTT)—Your doctor will measure how well your body can respond to glucose (sugar). First, a blood sample will be taken from your arm and tested for glucose levels before anything is eaten (to establish a comparison base). Then, you will drink a liquid that has glucose (sugar) in it. Blood will then be taken and tested at timed intervals to see how your body deals with the glucose in the blood.