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Metabolic Syndrom
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Metabolic syndrome

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  • Metabolic syndrome

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  • Metabolic syndrome x is a constellation of common disorders that produce a high risk of cardiac disease. Metabolic syndrome isn't a disease, but is a cluster of disorders of your body's metabolism - including high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess body weight and abnormal cholesterol levels - that make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Each of these disorders is by itself a risk factor for other diseases. In combination, though, these disorders dramatically boost your chances of developing potentially life-threatening illnesses.

  • high blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Doctors have talked about this constellation of risk factors for years, and have called it many names, including syndrome X, the deadly quartet and insulin resistance syndrome. But several studies support what doctors have suspected all along - this syndrome is common and it's becoming more prevalent.

    Partly because of these increasing numbers, doctors have defined the syndrome more clearly and developed guidelines for diagnosing it. Now, this powerful predictor of disease is a valuable preventive tool. If you have metabolic syndrome, you have the opportunity to make aggressive lifestyle changes today that can delay or derail the development of serious diseases.

    Signs and symptoms

    Having metabolic syndrome means you have several disorders of your metabolism at the same time, including:

    • Obesity, particularly around your waist (abdominal obesity)

    • High blood pressure (hypertension)

    • One or more abnormal cholesterol levels — high levels of fats (lipids) or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol

    • Resistance to insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate the amount of sugar in your body

  • high blood pressure

  • Having one component of metabolic syndrome means you're more likely to have other components of the syndrome. And the more components you have, the greater are the risks to your health.

    One study showed that men with three factors of metabolic syndrome are nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke and more than three times more likely to develop heart disease than those with none. The same study showed that men with four or five factors of the syndrome have nearly four times the risk of heart attack or stroke and more than 24 times the risk of diabetes.

  • heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Causes

    Doctors believe that the underlying cause of this cluster of risk factors is resistance to insulin — a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate the amount of sugar in your body. Normally, your digestive system breaks down some of the food you eat into sugar (glucose). Then your body uses insulin to transport the glucose into your cells, where it's converted to energy to fuel body processes.

    If your body becomes resistant to the action of insulin, glucose processing is impaired. Your body reacts by churning out more and more insulin in an effort to help glucose enter your cells. This extra insulin helps maintain normal glucose levels in your blood for a while, but eventually your pancreas is unable to overcome insulin resistance. As a result, glucose accumulates in your body, ultimately leading to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It formerly was called noninsulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes.

    Metabolic syndrome occurs before this point. Glucose levels in your body are abnormally high — not high enough to be classified as diabetic, but high enough so that the excess insulin in your system puts you at risk for other health consequences. The levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — another blood fat — in your bloodstream may increase, causing damage to your coronary arteries. And excessively high insulin levels may interfere with your kidneys' ability to process salt, which can raise your blood pressure.

    The cause of insulin resistance isn't well understood, but it probably involves a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Doctors believe that some people are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance, and the tendency may be partly inherited. But being overweight and inactive are major contributors.

    Risk factors

    The following factors increase your chances of developing metabolic syndrome:

    • Age. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increases with age, affecting less than 10 percent of people in their 20s and 40 percent of people in their 60s. However, one study shows that about one in eight schoolchildren have three or more components of metabolic syndrome.

    • Race. Metabolic syndrome is more common among blacks and Mexican-Americans than among Caucasians.

    • Obesity. A body mass index (BMI) — a measure of your percentage of body fat based on height and weight — greater than 25 increases your risk of metabolic syndrome. So does abdominal obesity — having an apple shape rather than a pear shape.

    • History of diabetes. You're more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or a history of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

    • Other diseases. A diagnosis of hypertension, cardiovascular disease or polycystic ovary syndrome — a hormonal disorder in which a woman's body produces an excess of male hormones — also increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.

    Metabolic syndrome > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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  • Coronary artery disease

  • Endocarditis

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  • Mitral valve stenosis

  • Mitral valve regurgitation

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Pericarditis

  • Metabolic syndrome

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  • Peripheral arterial disease

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    This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
    In no event will The Integrated Medical Clinic be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

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    Last Modified : 10/01/06 04:32 AM