Metabolic syndrome is a medical disorder characterized by at least three of the five following symptoms: abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome is believed to be the same a pre-diabetes. The exact causes of metabolic syndrome remain under investigation.
Many scientists believe that metabolic syndrome is the result of a combination of genetics, aging, high-sugar diet, sedentary behavior and excessive alcohol consumption. Most agree that the current American diet is incompatible with biochemistry, and significantly contributes to metabolic syndrome. Additionally, prolonged stress can disrupt hormonal balances and also lead to the condition.
Central obesity, commonly known as a beer belly, potbelly or spare tire, is the key feature of metabolic syndrome. However, it is also a part of the aging process, as almost half of all American adults over the age of 50 (44%) are affected by metabolic syndrome. Having metabolic syndrome quintuples the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It is also largely co-morbid with coronary heart disease, and individuals with schizophrenia are predisposed to metabolic syndrome.
Prevention of metabolic syndrome consists of increased physical activity and reduced calorie diets. Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for a person diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, but medications are often prescribed as well.