What is Metabolic Syndrome? Symptoms, Diagnosis Treatment

Metabolic syndrome is created when a combination of disorders which increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, come together. Individuals who have these conditions together face greater odds of developing future cardiovascular disease than any single factor alone. Nearly a quarter of the adult population is living with metabolic syndrome, which is a serious concern when considering the life-threatening complications with which it’s associated. [1]

This number increases with age, making it a particular interest for adults in their middle ages and older. More than 40% of people in their 60s and 70s have the condition, although age isn’t the only factor correlated with increased risk. [2]

To help you better understand the risk and to value in developing an effective prevention plan, we will examine the causes andcomplications of metabolic syndrome. We’ll also explore treatments for individuals who have already been diagnosed, thereby helping to prevent life-threatening cardiovascular events.

How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

It’s a combination of the following which make up metabolic syndrome. They include obesity, high blood pressure, and a trend toward insulin resistance, among others conditions.


Clinical Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome

A clinical diagnosis of the condition is given when a patient exhibits three or more of the following criteria:


Clinical Diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome

A clinical diagnosis of the condition is given when a patient exhibits three or more of the following criteria:


  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater
  • Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater
  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 mm HG or greater; or, diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm HG or greater (also the criteria for hypertension stage 1)
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL for men or 50 mg/dL for women
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater
  • Abdominal obesity, defined as a waist circumference of 40 inches or more for men, or 35 inches or more for women [3]

Having one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome; likewise, it’s also possible to have metabolic syndrome without exhibiting all of the above signs. For example, some patients who do not meet BMI criteria for obesity have metabolic syndrome. Ultimately, having any one of these conditions can increase the risk of serious disease, and having more than one likely increases risk even more.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

The leading underlying causes of metabolic syndrome are being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to weight and physical inactivity, aging also contributes to the disorder. Genetic factors, such as ethnicity and family history, may also play arole. [3] So, while we can control some of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, others we cannot. 

Another important, and often controllable, factor for the condition is insulin resistance. Insulin sensitivity is one of the most important markers of overall health. The hormone insulin regulates bloodsugar levels; thus, when the body fails to respond to insulin as it should, sugar builds up in the blood.Insulin resistance typically precedes diabetes and metabolic syndrome but often does not exhibit any symptoms.


Physician members of DYW Optimal Health plan work to help you feel years younger. You will become more energetic as you lose weight. Your personalized Optimal Health Plan can also help you sleep better, have increased libido, and allow you to think more clearly.


Additional Risk Factors

With these causes and risk factors in mind, let’s explore some of the reasons why preventing and controlling metabolic syndrome is so important.

The Dangers of Metabolic Syndrome

Complications of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome increases risk of developing:


Complications of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome increases risk of developing:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Often there is no warning signs or symptoms of some of the metabolic risk factors. While being overweight is an obvious sign, factors like high blood pressure often go unnoticed. For this reason, metabolic syndrome is especially dangerous. Having metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, the condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. This causes hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels, which typically precedes heart attack or stroke. It also elevates risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition with its own host of possible complications including nerve, kidney, and eye damage, among others. [4]

Nonetheless, being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome doesn’t mean you’re destined for serious illness or cardiovascular event. In fact, many of the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome can be combated with lifestyle adjustments, medications, and other forms of treatment, if needed.


Treatments for Metabolic Syndrome

When treating metabolic syndrome, the primary objective is to address the most serious concerns first. This encompasses reducing the risk for ischemic heart disease, in which the heart arteries are narrowed, and preventing or controlling type 2 diabetes. [5]

Typically, treatments for metabolic syndrome are first directed at controlling cholesterol and high blood pressure, which may necessitate the use of medications depending on the patient’s levels. With that said, lifestyle changes are of equal importance for improving health over a long-term basis.


Some of the behavioral changes patients with metabolic syndrome are encouraged to make include smoking cessation, adopting healthy stress management practices, and achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition. This is supported by both physical activity and heart-healthy eating.


The Best Diet for Metabolic Syndrome

Diet is probably the single MOST IMPORTANTfactor in controlling and preventing metabolicsyndrome. Thus DYW Optimal Health Plan willguide you to the best diet for your personalbody type, coupled with your food preferences.

Limiting certain foods can help individuals lose weight and improve blood sugar control while also contributing to the prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. [6]


Diet for Individuals with High Blood Pressure

For anyone with high blood pressure, reducing sodium intake may also be advised. In this case, soy sauce, canned foods, table salt, prepared pasta sauces, certain types of cheese, cured meats, and salty snack foods should be avoided.

In addition to avoiding certain foods, a healthy diet for metabolic syndrome should also prioritize certain elements of nutrition. Lean protein sources and vegetables are among the healthiest options for controlling the set of conditions. Fiber-rich foods, including beans, fresh vegetables, and fruit can aid in regulating blood sugar and   cholesterol. [7]

Other essential nutrients, including potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, also help to support heart health. Grapefruit, black beans, tomatoes, yogurt, and collard greens are rich sources of potassium, while flax seeds, olive oil, avocados, and many types of nuts are high in healthy fats

Understanding Metabolic Syndrome – In Conclusion

Even with the dietary guidelines listed in the previous section, preventing and controlling metabolic syndrome can seem daunting. The questions of exactly what to eat and when, how to structure a heart-safe yet effective fitness routine, and when and whether further treatments should be implemented loom over patients who are at risk or have been diagnosed with one or more of the conditions making up metabolic syndrome.


With the primary goal of reducing the risk for serious disease in adults, Cenegenics helps patients prevent or control metabolic syndrome through our comprehensive approach to wellness. Upon joining our program, each patient undergoes rigorous testing to indicate any specific health concerns, including those that exist presently as well as those the patient is at risk of developing down the road.


This gives our physicians, nutrition and exercise specialists, and additional clinicians the guidance needed to craft a highly personalized wellness map incorporating dietary and fitness recommendations as well as any nutraceuticals or medications as needed. We then take an agile approach to maintain continuous improvement, optimizing all aspects of health to prevent or control disease for a better quality of life both now and into the future.


If you’re interested in learning how DYW Optimal Health Plan can help you control or prevent the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, call or log in today to get started.


A Physicians Apology, by Dr. Thomas R. Schneider, MD, FACS, ABAARM,FAAMFM

The book describes Age Management and how to Master Healthy Aging, Nutrition, Exercise, and Hormone Replacement Therapy Included with a DYW Optimal Health Plan membership or purchase on Amazon.com

Dr. Schneider both a practicing physician as well as founder and Medical Director of DYW Optimal Health Plan.



How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

[1] American Heart Association. “About Metabolic Syndrome.” 31 Jul. 2016. 

Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome/about-metabolic-syndrome

[2] Cleveland Clinic. “Metabolic Syndrome.” 11 Feb 2015. 

Retrieved from URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10783-metabolic-syndrome

[3] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “Metabolic Syndrome.”

Retrieved from URL: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/metabolic-syndrome

[4] Mayo Clinic. “Metabolic Syndrome.” 06 Mar. 2018. 

Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916

[5] NHLBI; see above.

[6] Iftikhar, Noreen, MD. Healthline. “Metabolic Syndrome Diet.” 

Retrieved from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome-diet#foods-to-avoid

[7] Iftikhar, Noreen, MD; see above.