Metabolic syndrome is not a standalone disorder, unlike numerous other health anomalies like shin splints that affect only the leg muscles or presbyopia, which leads chiefly to eye and vision problems. Also Read: Shin Splints: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Also referred to as syndrome X, metabolic syndrome is, in fact, a collection of five distinct body features, which hamper the normal metabolism or energy processes in the system. This, in turn, greatly heightens the chances of acquiring numerous chronic ailments, foremost among them being type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.

The defining factors of metabolic syndrome in a person consist of

  • excess body fat, prominent belly and massive body weight
  • significant levels of bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides in blood
  • higher than normal blood sugar readings or prediabetes
  • elevated blood pressure
  • low concentrations of good cholesterol or HDL in the system

metabolic syndrome
Causes Of Metabolic Syndrome

The exact cause of metabolic syndrome is not known. Many features of the metabolic syndrome are associated with insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a phenomenon wherein the body does not use insulin efficiently to lower glucose and triglyceride levels.

A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors may result in insulin resistance. Lifestyle factors include dietary habits, activity and irregular sleeping patterns, such as in obstructive sleep apnea.

Risk Factors

The major risk factor that predisposes a person to develop metabolic syndrome is extremely large body weight, often disproportional to height and age, leading to a high BMI (body mass index) and obesity. Also Read: Obesity: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Metabolic syndrome can also be obtained due to rather unhealthy lifestyle practices such as consuming a diet high in carbohydrates, following a sedentary way of life daily, besides frequent smoking and alcohol use.

These invariably lead to kidney complications like CKD (chronic kidney failure), liver illnesses like fatty liver, hepatic cirrhosis and even damage the key respiratory organs – the lungs.


The general tendency is to assume that all people who are overweight will automatically develop metabolic syndrome. However, equivalent to body weight, the functioning of insulin in the body also plays a crucial role in an individual procuring metabolic syndrome.

Only a gigantic body mass is an obvious external indication of syndrome X. Sometimes, in prediabetic stages, a person also displays exhaustion and fatigue, coupled with incessant thirst, decline in eyesight and abnormal bowel functioning.

To determine any other attributes of the person, the doctor has to conduct diagnostic lab tests and gauge the metrics of blood pressure, blood glucose and triglyceride levels in the person, to conclude a situation of metabolic syndrome.


There are certain specific criteria that doctors utilise to diagnose an instance of metabolic syndrome. These include having a minimum of three or more of the following bodily characteristics:

A waistline of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women, which is measured across the belly

A blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or are taking blood pressure medications

A triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl

A fasting blood glucose level greater than 100 mg/dl or if the concerned person is currently taking sugar/glucose-lowering medications

A high density lipoprotein level (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl for men, or under 50 mg/dl for women


Once the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is confirmed in the patient, the physician recommends losing surplus body weight as the first step toward recovery. This is crucial, for a normal body weight ensures optimal metabolism, besides proper digestion, elimination of toxins and hormonal balance in the system. Thereby, keeping body mass index or BMI in check in the early years, will avert the chances of acquiring grave forms of diabetes or heart disease later on in life.

Moreover, the healthcare provider also strongly advises the patient to follow a low salt, low sugar diet, rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean meat sources like fish and egg white.

The medical expert advises the affected person to stay fit and active, by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. This keeps the cardiac muscles strong and augments heart wellness.

Prescription medications are also given mainly to target insulin resistance and restore the normal operations of the pancreatic hormones, to assist the patient with metabolic syndrome to regain complete health and wellbeing.