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Understanding Obesity Related Diseases: Metabolic Syndrome

obesityAs more of our population become obese and overweight, obesity diseases become much more prevalent. Metabolic Syndrome is one such disease, and here I explain what it is, why it affects the overweight, symptoms and prevention.

What is it?

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by several disorders related to your metabolism simultaneously. These disorders/components include obesity (particularly abdominal/waist fat), elevated blood pressure, increased triglyceride level, low HDL “good” cholesterol level, and insulin resistance. Having one of these components means you are more likely to have others; the more components you have the greater risk to your health.

Metabolic Syndrome has had a few names including syndrome X and insulin resistance syndrome. Not all experts agree on the definition of metabolic syndrome or whether it exists as a medical condition. Despite the discrepancies, the severity of possessing this collection of risk factors can lead to serious health complications.

Why is it affected by obesity/overweight?

Obesity is one of the components to this syndrome, therefore it has a huge impact on it. A body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25 increases your risk. BMI is a measure of your percent body fat based on height. Abdominal obesity (fat accumulation in the stomach area), or being “apple-shaped” rather than “pear-shaped,” is another factor increasing your risk of metabolic syndrome.

What are the symptoms?

As mentioned above, components to this syndrome include:

  • Obesity (“apple-shaped”)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • An elevated triglyceride level
  • Low HDL/”good” cholesterol level

What can you do to prevent it?

Leading a healthier lifestyle is a huge determinant of reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome. Aggressive lifestyle changes need to be made; doing so can delay or derail the development of serious associated diseases (heart disease, etc). Eating healthy, losing and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercise will take you a long way in overcoming and reducing the severity of metabolic syndrome.

April 21st, 2009

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One Response to “Understanding Obesity Related Diseases: Metabolic Syndrome”


Steve Parker, M.D.
Apr 21st, 2009
2:33 pm

Thanks for mentioning that not all physicians agree that the label “metabolic syndrome” is useful.——–Actually, there is growing concensus as to the definition of metabolic syndrome.——–If you know your measurements, you can determine if you have it by reviewing my blog post:

[Not only can metabolic syndrome be prevented, it can be cured by a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts. See link.]———-Steve Parker, M.D.