Metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that increase your chance of heart disease. Doctors say that a person is at risk when 3 or more of these unhealthy measurements are present:
- A waist size of more than 35 inches for women or more than 40 inches for men
- A body mass index (BMI) greater than 25, which means a person is overweight
- Triglycerides over 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), measured with a blood test
- Fasting blood sugar (a blood test also called "blood glucose") of 100 mg/dL or higher
- Blood pressure higher than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) systolic or higher than 80 mm Hg diastolic
- HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
How can these be harmful?
These problems can also cause:
- Harm to your heart and arteries, leading to heart disease or stroke
- Kidney damage
- High blood pressure, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease
- Diabetes ("high blood sugar") – this can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke and may harm your eyes, nerves or kidneys
How is it treated?
Treatment for metabolic syndrome may include medicine to control cholesterol, blood pressure or glucose. If you're overweight, losing weight through exercise and diet can help. Always check with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
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