Understanding Metabolic Syndrome

What you need to know about obesity and heart disease risk.

The Metabolic Syndrome

EatingWell for a Healthy Heart Cookbook (2008)

By EatingWell Editors

Understanding Metabolic Syndrome: What you need to know about obesity and heart disease risk

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that are directly related to the presence of abdominal obesity. It is characterized by "insulin resistance," which is a prediabetic state and markedly increases the chance that you will develop coronary heart disease and/or diabetes. It is a very significant risk factor and calls for emergency preventive measures.

A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome requires the presence of any three of the following five factors:

The presence of metabolic syndrome can increase the risk of someone developing heart disease by five to ten times compared with that of individuals who have none of these characteristics. It also signifies an extremely high risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes not only makes developing CHD more likely, but also is associated with the development of eye problems, kidney problems, sexual dysfunction, neurological pain and poor circulation to the legs and brain. You want to prevent it, or reverse it if you can.

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