You may not have heard of metabolic syndrome, but it’s one of the most common health dangers in the country. As many as one-third of American adults have metabolic syndrome, and if left unmanaged, the condition could be deadly. What is metabolic syndrome, who’s at risk, and what can you do if you think you might have it? Keep reading to find out.
Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of five risk factors that increase your risk of ischemic heart disease and other severe chronic health conditions such as stroke and type II diabetes. Ischemic heart disease occurs when plaque, a waxy material, builds up inside the heart’s arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow adequately through the body as it hardens. If untreated, ischemic heart disease can result in chest pain, heart attack, and even death.
The five dangerous health conditions that, if present, result in metabolic syndrome and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes include:
Metabolic syndrome is becoming increasingly common among U.S. adults in part because of the rise of obesity in our country. Some health researchers predict that metabolic syndrome may soon surpass smoking as the leading cause of heart disease.
The presence of just one of the health factors listed above does not mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of the four health factors can increase your risk of dangerous health conditions, particularly if unmanaged. If you have three or more, your doctor will most likely diagnose you with metabolic syndrome and talk to you about reversing your symptoms.
Metabolic syndrome is a severe condition, but it does not have to escalate into a catastrophic event. Aggressive lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, regular exercise, and healthy diet changes, can all help reduce the health factors that lead to metabolic syndrome, and that put you at risk for a heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. If you believe that you might be at risk of developing metabolic syndrome—and its related health dangers, talk to your doctor. They can help you create a treatment plan to improve your health and reduce your chances of a dangerous and possibly deadly health event.