Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Select An Article

Metabolic Syndrome

Font Size
A
A
A

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X or dysmetabolic syndrome, refers to a cluster of metabolic conditions that can lead to heart disease.

The main features of metabolic syndrome include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), abnormal cholesterol, and an increased risk for clotting. People diagnosed with this syndrome are usually overweight or obese.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

The Dangers of High Cholesterol

When Ramona Richman's older sister was diagnosed with high cholesterol, Richman wasn't worried about her own risk. The San Francisco Bay Area stay-at-home mom had her weight under control and assumed that her diet was healthy. So when her doctor broke the news that she, too, had high cholesterol, she was shocked. Her reading of 269 mg/dL was well over the desirable level of less than 200 mg/dL. "My sister had high cholesterol and went on medication, so I imagine that it's a genetic thing," Richman,...

Read the The Dangers of High Cholesterol article > >

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it properly. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps the body use glucose, a form of sugar, for energy. If a person has insulin resistance, his or her body is not converting glucose for use by muscles and other tissues.

How Is Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosed?

According to American Heart Association guidelines, any three of the following traits in the same person meet the criteria for the metabolic syndrome:

  1. Abdominal obesity: a waist circumference over 102 cm (40 in) in men and over 88 cm (35 inches) in women
  2. Serum triglycerides: 150 mg/dl or above, or taking medication for elevated triglycerides
  3. HDL (''good'') cholesterol: 40mg/dl or lower in men and 50mg/dl or lower in women
  4. Blood pressure of 130/85 or above (or taking medication for high blood pressure)
  5. Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl or above

The World Health Organization (WHO) has slightly different criteria for defining the metabolic syndrome:

  1. High insulin levels, an elevated fasting blood glucose or an elevated post-meal glucose alone with at least two of the following criteria:
  2. Abdominal obesity as defined by a waist-to-hip ratio of greater than 0.9, a body mass index of at least 30 kg/m2 or a waist measurement over 37 inches
  3. Cholesterol panel showing a triglyceride level of at least 150 mg/dl or an HDL cholesterol lower than 35 mg/dl
  4. Blood pressure of 140/90 or higher (or on treatment for high blood pressure)

How Common Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Approximately 20%-30% of the population in industrialized countries has metabolic syndrome.

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome.

1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW