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Metabolic syndrome is a dangerous set of factors that will leave you more vulnerable to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. If you are big around the middle and getting bigger, with excess abdominal fat, you are also at a greater risk for heart disease than someone who has accumulated fat in other body areas.
High levels of triglycerides (type of fat in the blood) is a metabolic risk factor. Having a low HDL (good) cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease.
High blood pressure may result in the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels, and can possibly be harmful to your heart. High fasting blood sugar, or taking medication that controls high blood sugar is a metabolic risk factor, and may be an early warning of diabetes.
The more of these five factors you have, the greater will be your risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke, and the greater your risk for metabolic syndrome.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, your risk for metabolic syndrome increases. If you are overweight or obese, or if you are insulin resistant, you have a higher than normal risk for metabolic syndrome.
Insulin resistance means what it says. The hormone insulin is meant to help blood sugar enter your cells for energy use but the body isn't able to use its insulin effectively. Blood sugar levels then climb.
Research reported on the National Institutes of Health website that metabolic syndrome may be partially due to problems with the immune system. Gut microbes may be a pivotal factor. Experiments from Emory University in which mice were used, seemed to indicate that gut microbes may hinder your body's ability to make use of energy.
Andrew T. Gewirtz of Emory University, co-leader of the research team, posited that the escalating obesity problem in our society may not just be due to inactivity and overeating. He speculated that if the experiment results with the mice is any indicator, then gut microbes may be changing people's appetites and contributing to metabolic syndrome.
For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches is heading in the direction of metabolic syndrome.