Those who have metabolic syndrome share a number of specific characteristics. Some of these factors include excess fat around the middle, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol.
Other factors are elevated C-reactive protein in the blood, and high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor1 in the blood. Metabolic syndrome can lead to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, preripheral vascular disease and stroke.
But it appears that metabolic syndrome can also affect how you think and how you feel.
Seniors with metabolic syndrome have a higher than normal risk for problems with their memory and other cognitive dysfunction. So said a study from France that was published in the February 2, 2011 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
For the French study, more than 7,000 people were studied, for three or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome, with tests of cognitive function and memory. They were tested after two years and again after another four years.
Cognitive dysfunction was 20 percent more likely in those with metabolic syndrome. Problems with the visual working memory test occured 13 percent more often in those with metabolic syndrome.
Those with lower memory results had low HDL cholesterol and higher triglycerides. Researchers hypothesize that metabolic syndrome can contribute to memory loss and even dementia. Further, they posited that controlling metabolic syndrome could decrease these problems.
But wait. As if this wasn't severe enough, there's more.
Metabolic syndrome can be found in 8 percent to 56 percent of people with bipolar disorder, according to an article on Biomedsearch.com. Research indicated that bipolar patients who had metabolic syndrome are at greater risk for higher mortality and morbidity than people who do not have bipolar disorder, and who do not have metabolic syndrome.
An April, 2011 study by Ohaeri in PubMed reported that metabolic syndrome occurs two to three times more often in people with severe mental disorders than among the rest of the population.