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Is Metabolic Syndrome A Disease?

Metabolic syndrome is represented by a group of risk factors that can increase your chances to develop heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It is also known as insulin resistance as it affects the body’s ability to utilize insulin to break down glucose and fat. This leads to the accumulation of fat and glucose resulting in high triglycerides and sugar level in the blood. It is caused by stress, overweight, aggressive lifestyle with a habit of excess smoking or excess alcohol, bad eating habits, and sedentary life.1

Lifestyle modification, regular exercises, diet modification and avoidance of alcohol and smoking can reverse the syndrome.

Is Metabolic Syndrome A Disease?

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but is a collection of risk factors that increase your chances to develop heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can be genetic or acquired. Most of the cases of metabolic syndrome are also called insulin resistance syndrome.2 It is also known as syndrome X and dysmetabolic syndrome. It is condition marked by large waistline, high fasting glucose levels, high blood pressure, low HDL and high triglyceride level. It affects mostly blood vessels, but it may also affect the heart, brain, and other organs. It may increase the possibility of serious ailments like heart attack, stroke, diabetes that can result in eye, nerve and kidney damage.

Most Americans (1-5) and British (1- 4) are affected by this syndrome every year.3 It can affect old people more after the age of 60 years. It also runs in families due to genetic predisposition.

Metabolic Syndrome Causes4

There is no one specific cause for metabolic syndrome. A large waistline or overweight is its main cause. The aggressive lifestyle which includes overeating, eating at the odd time, improper sleep pattern, etc., and sedentary life, eating food high in fat and sugar and lack of exercise can contribute to the syndrome. Insulin resistance can also lead to metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance can be genetic or acquired which affects the ability of the body to use insulin in order to metabolize fat and glucose. This results in deposition of glucose and fat in the blood. It contributes to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes can cause inflammation and blood clotting ailments in the body. This can cause cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors5

The risk factors for metabolic syndrome involve-

  • Age above 35 years
  • Asian or African Carribean race
  • Family history of metabolic syndrome
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Central obesity and fat deposition in the middle and upper parts of the body
  • Smoking
  • Regular alcohol intake
  • Associated diseases like polycystic ovary disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, etc.

Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms5

According to American heart association, a person will have metabolic syndrome if he has three of following symptoms-

  • The waist circumference, that symbolizes abdominal or central or visceral obesity, is more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women.
  • The triglyceride levels are high (150 mg/dL) and HDL levels (good cholesterol) are low (40 mg/dL) in the blood.
  • The blood pressure is consistently high 140/90 mmHg or higher.
  • Blood sugar levels are at higher levels (100 mg/dL) for a long time. This is also called insulin resistance.
  • There is an increased risk of developing blood clots like deep vein thrombosis.
  • There are frequent incidences of inflammation in the body leading to swelling and irritation.
  • Acanthosis nigricans, a skin pigmentation disorder

Metabolic Syndrome Complications6

Metabolic syndrome can cause serious and chronic consequences like

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart attack
  • Affections of eyes, kidney, and nerve due to diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease


Metabolic syndrome is a medical term given to a group of risk factors that can trigger type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It itself is not a disease. It is represented by high blood pressure, central obesity, high sugar levels, and others as discussed above.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 19, 2022

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