What Are The 5 Risk Factors For Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is defined as the aggregation of various conditions such as high blood pressure, prediabetes, low HDL, obesity and insulin resistance that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.[1]

What Are The 5 Risk Factors For Metabolic Syndrome?

Various risk factors are associated with the occurrence of metabolic syndrome. Although these factors are related to each other, but presence of one risk factor may increase the development of other factors and metabolic syndrome. Following are the risk factors:

  1. Abdominal Obesity: Abdominal obesity is defined as the condition in which fats deposited around the stomach and viscera to such an extent that it starts impacting negatively on the health of the person. If the waist circumference of the man is greater than 40 inches (102 cm), then he is suffering from abdominal obesity. If the waist circumference of the woman is greater than 35 inches (88 cm), then she is suffering from abdominal obesity.[2] Abdominal obesity is directly related to metabolic syndrome and is classified as one of the risk factors for this syndrome. When the fat is accumulated around the stomach of abdomen, it results in increasing the insulin resistance. It is this increase in insulin resistance that leads to metabolic syndrome. Visceral fat deposition leads to the development of fat cells or adipose cells which secrets inflammatory mediators. These inflammatory mediators are primarily responsible for the development of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia.[3]
  2. Blood Pressure: Increase in blood pressure is termed as hypertension and is one of the most common condition in cardiovascular disease. If not managed properly, hypertension may lead to life-threatening implication on heart and other organs such as kidney. Whenever there is an insulin resistance, the concentration of insulin found in the blood increases, leading to hyperinsulinemia. Both these conditions i.e. insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia lead to increase in blood pressure through the activation of renin-angiotensinogen system. The increase in blood pressure is also due to activation of sympathetic nervous system.[4] Blood pressure is one of the risk factors for metabolic disorders.

  3. HDL Count: Low high-density lipoproteins are one of the most common risk factors that may increase the chances of metabolic syndrome. Low HDL is said to be the predictor of the vascular disease. Studies have shown that Low-HDL is the strongest predictor of occurrence of coronary artery disease in patients who have the total cholesterol in normal level. It has also been found that the long term follow-up in patients have concluded that the patients with low HDL have the similar risk for coronary heart disease which can occur due to high total cholesterol or high levels of LDL.[5] Generally, it has been seen that the people with metabolic syndrome are having LDL in normal range while their HDL is lower making it one of the important risk factors for metabolic syndrome and monitoring levels of HDL is important in managing the risk of metabolic syndrome.
  4. Fasting Glucose: Metabolic syndrome increases five times more risk for diabetes as compared to people who does not have metabolic syndrome. Further, hypoglycemia is the result of insulin resistance, a factor which increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. Impaired fasting glucose increases the level of glucose in the blood and causes the condition known as prediabetics.[6] This means that if can be converted to diabetes if proper lifestyle changes are not done. The risk of converting prediabetes to diabetes is high in lack of lifestyle changes.

  5. Triglycerides: Triglycerides are the important risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Source of triglycerides in the body is the food and it is also synthesized in liver.[7] Various other substances such as alcohol also increase the ability of the body to synthesize triglycerides. There is a relationship between the triglycerides and level of HDL. Increased level of triglycerides reduces the level of HDL, which is said to cardioprotective. Low level of HDL may lead to atherosclerosis.


Various risk factors which increase the chances of development of metabolic syndrome include hypertension, high triglycerides, prediabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.


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