Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself, but a collection of risk factors that often occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
A person is diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome when they have any three or more:
- central (abdominal) obesity – excess fat in and around the stomach (abdomen)
- raised blood pressure (hypertension)
- high blood triglycerides
- low levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL) – the ‘good’ cholesterol
- impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or diabetes. IFG occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.
More than 35 per cent of Australian adults have metabolic syndrome. This is higher in people with diabetes.
Having metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease – heart attack &/or stroke.
Metabolic Syndrome Prevention
- Increase activity levels. Get moving! 30 or more minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, light weight-training and so on) daily, you can substantially reduce your risk (or severity) of metabolic syndromeevery day.
- Lose weight (if overweight or obese). Losing weight can reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure and decrease your risk of diabetes.
- Eat healthy. Eating a variety of nutrient dense foods at every meal. Drink lots of water throughout the day too. Reduce alcohol consumption where appropriate.
- Reduce stress levels. Busy lifestyles and other sources of stress have a profound influence on health outcome. Light physical activity, meditation, yoga, music and/or other relaxation techniques can all be used to reduce stress levels
- Stop smoking (if you do). Smoking cigarettes worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome.