Metabolic Syndrome - Carrying Too Much Fat Around Your Waist Can Lead to Serious Health Problems

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Metabolic Syndrome - Carrying Too Much Fat Around Your Waist Can Lead to Serious Health Problems


Metabolic syndrome is a collection of disorders that increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.  The causes of metabolic syndrome are complex. Physical inactivity and excess weight are the main underlying contributors to the development of metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and losing weight can help reduce or prevent the complications associated with this condition.


What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist (central obesity), and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight or obesity and inactivity. It is also linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Glucose level will continue to increase. The patient then might develop diabetes.



Metabolic syndrome is associated with:

  1. Obesity – Central obesity is when the main deposits of body fat are around the abdomen and the upper body. The greater your waist circumference, the higher your risk. This also leads to hypertension, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, low HDL, and cardiovascular disease.
  2. Insulin resistance – Insulin resistance is a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors include diet, activity, age, and medication.




There are several published diagnostic criteria for the metabolic syndrome. From the criteria developed in the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III, 2005), the diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome is made when three or more of the risk determinants shown as below.

  1. Waist circumference: men ≥36 inches/90 centimeters, women ≥32 inches/80 centimeters
  2. Fasting glucose: ≥100 mg/dL or diabetes mellitus
  3. Triglyceride level: 150 mg/dL
  4. HDL cholesterol: <40 mg/dL in men, <50 mg/dL in women
  5. Blood pressure: ≥130/85 mmHg or taking hypertension medications




The major goal of treating metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Treatment is directed first at lowering weight and managing insulin resistance.

  • Healthy eating plans
  • Exercise – aerobic, cardio, isotonic exercise
  • Surgery – People who are morbidly obese have an increased risk of dying prematurely, compared with healthy individuals. Bariatric surgery can reduce this risk. The procedure does this by quickly and effectively reducing body fat and can help to prevent, improve or even resolve metabolic conditions related to obesity. There are many types of bariatric surgery. The surgeon will decide which option is the best for each patient.

1. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy – A part of the stomach is removed to reduce its size to 150 cc. This makes a person feel full after eating only small portions of food. The surgical wound is 0.5-1 centimeter by using laparoscopic technique.

2. Laparoscopic gastric bypass – The stomach is divided into a smaller upper portion and a larger lower portion. The smaller section (30 cc) is connected to a part of the small intestine (100-150 centimeters in length). Food then only passes into the smaller part of the stomach and this section of the intestine, bypassing the remaining stomach and bowel. The smaller stomach absorbs less calories than before and this reduces the amount of food a person needs to eat to make them feel full.


Although you are much more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you are overweight or obese, you can have it even if you have a normal weight. Although lifestyle changes are the most effective way to improve all risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, in some instances your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat the individual components of metabolic syndrome. Also, in some cases, the doctor might recommend a surgery as a treatment option. 

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