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Metabolic Syndrome

This is a name we give to a group of conditions. Together, they raise your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Five conditions make up this syndrome. They are a large waistline, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a high level of triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood), and a low level of HDL cholesterol. That's the "good" cholesterol.

Causes and Risk Factors

You can develop this syndrome if you don't stay healthy. It's more common in people who are overweight or obese. People who aren't active have a higher risk. You can also develop it if you have "insulin resistance." That's a problem with the way your body uses insulin. Your risk for metabolic syndrome gets higher as you get older. It's linked to certain genetic factors. It's also linked to problems such as gestational diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms

Other than a large waistline, you may not notice any symptoms. But eventually, you may develop diabetes or high blood pressure. If so, you may notice symptoms of those conditions. With diabetes, that can include excessive thirst or urination, fatigue and blurred vision. With high blood pressure, that can include headaches, dizzy spells and nosebleeds.

Treatment

Metabolic syndrome can be treated with a healthier lifestyle. Losing weight and eating a proper diet can help. So can quitting smoking and managing stress. Medications can also play a role. They control things like cholesterol and blood pressure. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that's right for you.