- increased blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
- excess abdominal fat around the waist
- high cholesterol levels
Having one of these risk factors does not mean that you have metabolic syndrome X. However, having one of these risk factors will increase your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. Having two or more of these factors will increase your risk of health complications even more.
The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 35 percent of adults currently have this condition.
Metabolic syndrome X is also known as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, dysmetabolic syndrome, and syndrome X.
The risk factors for metabolic syndrome X are related to obesity. The two most important risk factors for developing the condition are:
- central obesity or excess fat around the middle and upper parts of the body
- insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for the body to use sugar
There are other factors that can increase your risk of developing metabolic syndrome X. One factor is your age. Less than 10 percent of people in their twenties have the syndrome, but 40 percent of people in their sixties have it. Other risk factors are not getting enough exercise and having other family members with the syndrome. Women who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a metabolic disorder that affects hormones and the reproductive system, have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome X.
The most obvious symptom of metabolic syndrome X is excess abdominal fat. However, this symptom does not confirm diagnosis of the condition.
To diagnose metabolic syndrome X, your doctor will need to perform several different tests. The results of these tests will be used to look for three or more signs of the disorder. Tests ordered to diagnose metabolic syndrome X include:
- measurement of waist circumference
- fasting blood triglycerides
- cholesterol levels
- blood pressure
- fasting glucose level
Abnormalities noted on three or more of these tests will indicate the presence of metabolic syndrome X.
The complications that can result from metabolic syndrome X are typically serious and long-term (chronic). They include:
- hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- heart attack
- kidney disease
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- peripheral artery disease
- cardiovascular disease
If diabetes develops, this can place you at risk for the development of additional health complications including:
- eye damage (retinopathy)
- nerve damage (neuropathy)
- kidney disease
- amputation of limbs
If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome X, the goal of treatment will be to reduce your risk of developing further health complications. Your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes that may include losing between seven and 10 percent of your current weight and getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five to seven days a week. Your doctor may also suggest that you quit smoking and reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. He or she also may prescribe low-dose aspirin to help reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack .
The outlook for people who develop metabolic syndrome X can be quite good if symptoms of the disorder are managed. Individuals who take their doctor’s advice, eat right, exercise, stop smoking, and lose weight will reduce their chances of developing serious health problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
Although treatment to reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome X will help reduce health complications, most people with this condition will have a long-term risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you develop this condition, you will need to be monitored by your doctor to help prevent serious health problems including heart attack or stroke.
Preventing metabolic syndrome X is certainly possible. Basically, you will have to make changes in your lifestyle to prevent the development of the condition.
In particular, you should eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also get moving. Regular physical activity will reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels. The key is to try to maintain a healthy weight.
Prevention of metabolic syndrome X will also require you to have regular physical exams. Your doctor can measure your blood pressure and complete blood work that may indicate the early development of metabolic syndrome X. Early diagnosis of the condition and treatment will reduce health complications over the long term.