Metabolic Syndrome

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on August 19, 2021

The risk factors that make up metabolic syndrome -- unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess belly fat -- raise your odds of serious health problems. These include diabetes and blood vessel or heart disease.

Specifically, metabolic syndrome can lead to atherosclerosis, or plaque build up in the arteries. This is when fats, cholesterol, and other substances stick to the sides of the arteries. The arteries then become clogged and brittle. Blood clots form when the arterial walls are damaged. If a blood clot forms, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Here are some sobering statistics from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • One in every four deaths in the U.S. each year is from a heart attack
  • In 2019,  in 2019, 1,055,000 ipeople had heart attacks, including 720,000 which were first time events
  • This year 795,000 Americans will have a stroke.
  • 68% of people over the age of 65 with diabetes die from heart disease.
WebMD Medical Reference



American Heart Association: "Know the Facts: Get the Stats." 

Grundy S. Circulation, 2005.

Wannamethee A. JAMA, February 15, 2006.

American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes Statistics."

American Heart Association: "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics -- 2012 Update."


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