Do you have a history of diabetes or hypertension? Is your waist circumference equal to, or more than 35 inches? Are you a smoker or living a sedentary lifestyle? According to the National Health Statistics Reports, one-third of the adult population in the US has the characteristics of Syndrome X, also known as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that leads to cardiovascular disease.
The metabolic syndrome is characterized by the following features:
Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance – Though this may lead to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance happens when the body doesn’t respond to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas.
High Blood Pressure – As the heart pumps blood, the pressure that pushes the blood against the artery walls is called blood pressure. When the pressure stays higher than its normal level, it becomes a threat because it can result to health problems such as stroke, heart failure and kidney failure.
Cholesterol Abnormalities – There are two kinds of cholesterol. The good cholesterol is called HDL and the bad cholesterol is called LDL. Cholesterol is transferred to and from the cells through lipoproteins. When there is more Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol than High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) in your blood steam, it can lead to buildups in the inner wall of the arteries. These inner walls, together with the other substances, can foster a plaque that narrows or blocks the arteries. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Increased Risk for Clotting – The risk of developing several coagulation disorders, which can contribute to heart attacks, is higher in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Abdominal Obesity – The excess fat stored in the waist and abdomen area is known as the pot belly or beer belly, which becomes alarming if the waist circumference reaches over 35 inches in women, or 40 inches in men.
These features can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. Any history of hypertension, type-2 diabetes, or any heart disease in your family will increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.