Metabolic Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Metabolic Syndrome raises our risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It reduces the efficiency of our metabolism and provokes dangerous weight gain and other health issues.
Metabolic Syndrome raises our risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It reduces the efficiency of our metabolism and provokes dangerous weight gain and other health issues.
Burning the same amount of calories we consume will help you maintain your weight.
Burning the same amount of calories we consume will help you maintain your weight. | Source

Metabolism and Calories

What is metabolism? Basically, metabolism is how the body converts food into energy and how efficiently it uses that energy. Daily food, fat stores and glucose provide the fuel we need for daily energy. The rate of metabolism can vary and is based on a variety of factors.

What is a calorie? A calorie is a unit of energy - heat energy. One calorie has the heat energy required to raise the temperature of water by one degree celsius.

Metabolism is the rate that the body burns calories.

Factors that Affect Metabolism

Although the rate of metabolism is unique for each individual, it does have a general healthy range. This is why there is a recommended calorie range for men and women. Most organizations agree that the average daily intake should be in the ballpark of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men. The average male burns about 500 more calories per day than women. A man's metabolism is almost always higher than that of a woman. Men naturally have a higher muscle mass than the average woman - thus increasing their metabolism. This is one of the reasons men lose weight and get fit quicker than women.

Foods That Lower Metabolism

What population is at greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome?

The US Department of Health and The National Institute of Health have determined the following populations to be commonly affected by metabolic syndrome.

Gender:

  • African American Women are at higher risk than African American Men.
  • Mexican American Women are at higher risk than Mexican American Men.
  • White men and women tend to be affected equally.

The United States:

  • Mexican Americans are at a higher risk than African Americans and White Americans.

Global:

  • South Asians show the greatest risk.

Metabolic Syndrome Indicators

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A waist measurement over 35" for women or 40" for men is an indicator of metabolic syndrome.Tryglyceride readings above 150 mg/dl are a possible symptom of metabolic syndrome. HDL readings below 40 mg/dl for men or 50 mg/dl women is also a symptom.Blood pressure readings above 130/85 may indicate you have metabolic syndrome.
A waist measurement over 35" for women or 40" for men is an indicator of metabolic syndrome.
A waist measurement over 35" for women or 40" for men is an indicator of metabolic syndrome. | Source
Tryglyceride readings above 150 mg/dl are a possible symptom of metabolic syndrome. HDL readings below 40 mg/dl for men or 50 mg/dl women is also a symptom.
Tryglyceride readings above 150 mg/dl are a possible symptom of metabolic syndrome. HDL readings below 40 mg/dl for men or 50 mg/dl women is also a symptom. | Source
Blood pressure readings above 130/85 may indicate you have metabolic syndrome.
Blood pressure readings above 130/85 may indicate you have metabolic syndrome. | Source

How is metabolic syndrome determined?


According to the American Heart Association, three of any of the following factors will be cause to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome:


  • Waist measurement: a waist that measures over 40" in men or over 35" in women.
  • Triglycerides: a serum triglyceride reading above 150 mg/dl.
  • HDL Cholesterol: a reading below 40 mg/dl in men or below 50 mg/dl in women.
  • Blood Pressure: a reading above 130/85.
  • Fasting Blood Glucose: a reading above 100 mg/dl.

What are the risk factors of metabolic syndrome?

As mentioned earlier, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Other concerns and risks include the development of:

  • Fatty liver, which increases the risk of cirrhosis.
  • Kidney damage: symptom includes protein in the urine (microalbuminuria).
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Dementia

Are there any treatments for metabolic syndrome?

Weight loss, a healthy diet and exercise will keep metabolic syndrome and many health issues at bay.

Although you cannot control aging and genetics, you can control your diet, and how active your lifestyle is. The primary treatment is to lose weight through diet and exercise. Reduction of waist measurement is important and a heart healthy diet is the strongest suggestion. Although there are some medications available, weight loss and diet supersede most other treatments. Regardless, blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels need to be brought under control.

Note: Aside from treatments, the best course of action would be to lead a preventative and proactive lifestyle. Eating right, sleeping well and maintaining an active lifestyle play an important role in improving our overall health. Consider a diet of foods that lower blood pressure. Supplements such as, fish oil or flax seed oil are also known to keep metabolic syndrome indicators under control.

Do you have metabolic syndrome?

Interesting Clinical Studies and Findings about Metabolic Syndrome

It was found that a Mediterranean diet with Omega-3 supplements was beneficial to women diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Correction of the Omega-3 Index in women with metabolic syndrome by adding omega-3 supplements to a Mediterranean-style diet: June 2012

Women (including postmenopausal women) who lose more fat are more likely to lower blood pressure, glucose, and triglyceride levels to resolve metabolic syndrome. Weight Loss and Low-Intensity Exercise for the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome in Obese Postmenopausal Women: June 2011

Emerging science supports therapeutic roles of strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries in metabolic syndrome; a prediabetic state characterized by several cardiovascular risk factors. Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries in the Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Perspectives: November 2011

Disclaimer: The author is not a physician and does not diagnose or treat health issues. The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. Please consult a physician for medical and dietary advice and treatment. High blood pressure should not be treated without the supervision of a medical professional.

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares

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Comments 25 comments

beingwell profile image

beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

I didn't know there is such a thing.

Great hub!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Interesting from start to finish with a grand finale in that your ending includes the best possible information on treatment. Good stuff. I started the hub thinking about how little I knew of this metabolic syndrome and ended it feeling like I am now well informed.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This is something I'd never heard of before. Now I feel like I know exactly what it is. Thanks for this interesting and useful hub!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing this hub. So much good information on Metabolic Disorder, what it is and how it can be treated. I'm starting right now!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

beingwell, yes, unfortunately there is. It is also quite common. Thank you for reading.

RTalloni, looks like we can't hide from the fact that we have to take care of ourselves. There are so many temptations sometimes - right? I'm thrilled by your comment. It feels great to know it was informative. Take care.

Just Ask Susan, Thank you so much for stopping by to read and comment. Glad you found it interesting and useful. We sure gotta take care of ourselves friend.

vocalcoach, Hi Audrey! Here is to your health! A big warm Hub Hug for you! Thanks for reading.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

This is really informative. Many people simply try to cut on their food intake without really understanding how their bodies process the food they eat. As such, they fail to actually lose weight or worse become sick.

Voted up and I will definitely share this hub!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

jpcme, thank you. Yes, cutting down at the wrong times of day and time can really negatively affect one's metabolism. I appreciate you reading and sharing. Thanks for the votes too!


ashish04joshi profile image

ashish04joshi 4 years ago from India

Quite an informative hub about about Syndrome X...well done.

'Up', 'Useful' and 'Interesting'...


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

ashish04joshi, thank you. I appreciate you reading and commenting - thanks for the votes too.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I had to come back and review this hub missolive. It clarifies for me some questions that have been on my mind. I have had an "interruption" healthwise which prevented me from going forth in getting my metabolism in gear. So, re-reading this information has helped so much. Thank you, dear missolive!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

vocalcoach, it honors me to know this hub has been a resource to you. Thank you so much for coming back to read and share. I do hope you are in good health and that your metabolism jumps into gear. Cheers! To your health!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

A lot of great information in here. As you know - I am a health nut. I have a tendency to get really obsessed. But with that, I prefer my exercise over the whole food thing. Dont' get me wrong, I love a good healthy meal but I often find difficulty saying no to a good juicy burger! Over the course of the last year I have learned the hard way. If you want to get healthy and really in shape - it is an 80/20 ratio - 80 percent of your results come from the food you eat, while 20 percent comes from the exercise. That marks a long journey for those who prefer to workout hard and eat their burgers! :) Great advice and information here.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

barbergirl28: Stacy, being obsessive about your health can be a good thing. You are also a realist. A burger? Heck yeah!YUM! You are dead on with the combo of exercise and eating right. The two make a huge difference when looking for results in weight loss. Besides, if we diet and exercise - those occasional treats don't add up as bad. It is definitely a journey. For me? I just need to make sure those occasional binges don't turn into a week long fat fest. Take care and thanks so much for your great comment.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

It seems like metabolic syndrome is on the rise in the US especially. I have always had this hunch that super-processed foods and diets could be a contributing (significant) factor. Yikes! This is really good to know.


kelleyward 4 years ago

This is something that is getting more attention over the past few years. With PCOS and other hormone related issues on the increase I think more people need to know about metabolic problems. Thanks for sharing this hub. Shared and voted up!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

cclitgirl, doesn't it though? I'm sure it is affecting our youth as well. I bet your hunch is right on as a major factor. We all need to slow down and take care of ourselves. Glad to see you and thanks for reading.

kelleyward, thank you so much for your support Kelley. I appreciate you reading, commenting and sharing.


Iheartautism profile image

Iheartautism 4 years ago from canada

the foods we eat are full of genetically modified ingredients.. even our fresh produce is being grown from seeds that contain hormones that should not be there. I'm slowly becoming very conscious about the foods we eat.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

theartautism, you are absolutely right. I'm starting to grow leery of picture perfect plump foods. Glad to hear you are also building up your awareness. Cheers - to your health!


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Good information on what the metabolic syndrome is and how to correct it. Since it's often the precursor of diabetes or heart disease, it's important for people to be aware of metabolic syndrome so that they can take corrective action. Voted up, useful and interesting.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Great information Marisa and written so well. Thank you!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

mperrottet, thank you. You are so right about it being a precursor and we all should really be aware. Thanks so much for your comment and votes. I really appreciate you stopping by to read.

Sunnie Day, Hi there! Thank you so very much.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Good to know. Thanks. Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.


missolive profile image

missolive 3 years ago from Texas Author

B. Leekley, Apologies for the late response. Thank you for your votes and sharing, it is greatly appreciated.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 17 months ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm back for the 3rd time miss olive. I've shared with many friends and felt that I needed a review again. I'm one of those super health-conscious people who love articles on keeping healthy. I've recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so now I have one more reason for watching my health.

Hub hugs,

audrey


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

This may just be the wake up call people need to know. Thanks for sharing this informative article. Will be sharing this hub with others on HP and pinning to my health board.

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