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Metabolic Syndrome; Facts to Know.

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but a clustering or "constellation" of health markers.

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three of the following:

Your waist measures more than 34 inches around (more than 40 inches in men).

Your fasting blood glucose is 110 mg/dL or higher; or you're already taking medication because you have high blood glucose levels.

You have a triglyceride level at or above 150 mg/dL.

Your HDL cholesterol level (the "good" cholesterol) below 50 mg/dL (at or below 40 mg/dL in men); or you're already taking medication to increase your HDL level.

Your blood pressure is at or above 130 mm Hg systolic (the top number) or 85 mm Hg diastolic (the bottom number); or you're already taking medication to treat high blood pressure.

More than a third (34.5 percent) of all Americans have metabolic syndrome, although most may not know it.

Women with a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are up to 11 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those without PCOS.

The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age, although researchers still don't know if menopause has any effect on metabolic syndrome.

Although you're much more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you're overweight or obese, you can have it even if you have a normal weight. The most important risk factor is the amount of fat around your abdomen, called visceral fat. This visceral fat tends to accumulate more in women.

Metabolic syndrome significantly increases your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and has been linked to liver disease, sleep apnea and cancer.

The only overt symptom of metabolic syndrome is being overweight.

The best way to treat metabolic syndrome is by losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, becoming physically active and following a healthy diet. This is the only thing you can do that will improve all health markers for metabolic syndrome.

Your health care professional may prescribe medication to treat the individual components of metabolic syndrome, such as antihypertensives for high blood pressure and certain anti-diabetes drugs to improve insulin resistance.


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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - General Women's Health
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 14, 2006
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