Researchers have found certain variables play an important role in a person's chances of developing heart disease. These variables are called risk factors. In recent years, researchers have found that some of these heart disease risk factors cluster together in certain people. This clustering of risk factors is known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is also called Reaven syndrome, insulin resistance syndrome, or Metabolic Syndrome X.
People with metabolic syndrome have a clustering of the following risk factors:
• Central obesity (extra weight around the stomach)
• Diabetes or glucose intolerance
• High levels of triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good cholesterol") in the bloodstream
• High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
There is still much to be learned about metabolic syndrome. Doctors do know that people with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of heart attack or coronary artery disease.
Researchers think that metabolic syndrome maybe a genetic condition. This means that the genes are passed down from one generation to the next. For the most part doctors do not fully understand why metabolic syndrome happens.
People with insulin-resistant conditions, such as diabetes and hyperinsulinemia are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot make or respond properly to the hormone insulin. Hyperinsulinemia is a condition where large amounts of insulin are pumped into the bloodstream. What are the signs of metabolic syndrome?
Patients with metabolic syndrome will not feel any symptoms. But there are signs that might lead doctors to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.
Doctors can check your HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and weight, all of which are warning signs of metabolic syndrome. You may also need blood tests to measure the levels of glucose and insulin in your bloodstream.