Atherosclerosis takes place over a lifetime. Complications from atherosclerosis tend to happen later in life. But the process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries starts early, progressing over decades.
Developing some atherosclerosis is often unavoidable. It's the result of aging and our own genetic tendencies. A much larger part, though, is determined by our behavior and lifestyle choices as we move through life.
How old are your arteries? Are they the ones you had in college? Or are...
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:
Abdominal obesity: a waist circumference over 102 cm (40 in) in men and over 88 cm (35 inches) in women
Serum triglycerides: 150 mg/dl or above, or taking medication for elevated triglycerides
HDL (''good'') cholesterol: 40mg/dl or lower in men and 50mg/dl or lower in women
Blood pressure of 130/85 or above (or taking medication for high blood pressure)
Fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dl or above
The World Health Organization (WHO) has slightly different criteria for defining the metabolic syndrome:
High insulin levels, an elevated fasting blood glucose or an elevated post-meal glucose alone with at least two of the following criteria:
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
Cholesterol panel showing a triglyceride level of at least 150 mg/dl or an HDL cholesterol lower than 35 mg/dl
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.