Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors -- unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess belly fat -- that may raise your risks of serious illness, such as diabetes, and blood vessel and heart disease.
If you've been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome -- or are worried you might have it -- here are some questions to ask your doctor. Print them out before your next appointment.
- Do I have any metabolic syndrome risk factors?
- Will I need medicine to control them? If so, how will the medicine help? What are the side effects?
- Do I need to have blood tests to see if I have a higher risk of blood clots and inflammation?
- What is my BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference?
Should I lose weight? What's a reasonable weight goal for me?
- What changes should I make to my diet? Do I need to take any special precautions?
- Should I consider seeing a registered dietician to talk about improving my diet? Can you refer me to one?
- Do you have suggestions for how I could get more physical activity?
- Could any medicines I'm taking be affecting my metabolic syndrome risk factors?
- How might my family history affect my risk of getting metabolic syndrome and having cardiovascular problems?
- Should I be taking aspirin therapy?
Remember that when you meet with your doctor, tell him or her about all of the medicines, herbs, and supplements you use. "Natural" medicines can be powerful, and they can interfere with the effectiveness of other drugs.
You could also keep a food diary for about a week before your next appointment. Just jot down the foods you eat each day. Then, you and your doctor can go over it together and talk about ways of improving your eating habits.