Call it a silent epidemic. An estimated one in four adults is afflicted with the condition known as metabolic syndrome, and many of them don't even know it.
Obesity and lack of exercise are key components of this dangerous condition, which puts you at risk of developing serious health problems. That makes metabolic syndrome yet another reason to adopt healthier eating and exercise habits.
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...
Overweight people tend to develop a resistance to insulin -- a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, pushing sugar into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. When you're resistant to insulin, blood sugar isn't effectively delivered into the cells. That leads to high blood-sugar levels in the bloodstream, which is one of the symptoms (and causes) of type 2 diabetes.