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Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors or conditions which raises your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the blood vessels. It is a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Individually these conditions can damage your blood vessels but having all three is dangerous. [2; 3]










  • The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.

  • Obesity increase the risk due to the excess weight especially on the abdomen.

  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes and/ or previous history of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) increases your risk.

  • Diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome or sleep apnoea increases the risk of getting metabolic syndrome.


Metabolic syndrome is associated with being overweight, obesity, an inactive lifestyle and insulin resistance [2]. It is linked to insulin resistance due to type 2 diabetes. Insulin is involved in the storage of glucose and if there is resistance it causes a build up of glucose in the bloodstream. [3]


  • Waist circumference of more than 94 cm in men and more than 80 cm in females.

  • High triglyceride levels and low HDL (‘good cholesterol’) levels in the body. These tests are done by the doctor.

  • Persistent high blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

  • Inability to control sugar levels or development of insulin resistance.

  • Increased risk of developing blood clots.

  • Tendency of developing inflammation, that is irritation and swelling of body tissue.


  • If there is no change of lifestyle and you are unable to control the excess weight, insulin resistance may develop and in turn type 2 diabetes.

  • Plaques in the arteries may develop due to high cholesterol and blood pressure that may result in a heart attack or stroke.


  • Regular exercise of at least 30 min per day, five times a week. This can include brisk walking, aerobics, cycling and look for other ways to increase activity such as walking instead of driving, using the stairs instead of elevator, etc.

  • Try to lose about 7% to 10% of your body weight. It can help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Having a healthy diet is essential. A dietician can help with this. It has been recommended that plans such as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and a Mediterranean diet where emphasis on eating vegetables, fruits, high fibre whole grains and lean protein and limits of foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, salt, certain fats and sugar are of great help.

  • Stopping to smoke helps improve your overall health.

  • Learn how to manage stress with activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, etc.

  • Make sure you visit the doctor for a regular physical where the doctor is to maintain your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels and your weight.

  • Drink alcohol in moderation as it can interfere with the functions of the liver.


  1. Mayo clinic Staff [Internet]. Metabolic syndrome. America: Mayo Clinic; [updated 2019 Mar 14; cited 2019 Aug 28]. Available from:

  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Metabolic Syndrome. America: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; [cited 2019 Aug 28]. Available from:

  3. NHS [Internet]. Metabolic syndrome. United Kingdom: NHS; [updated 2016 Dec 06; cited 2019 Aug 28]. Available from:

  4. Mayo Clinic Staff [Internet]. Metabolic Syndrome. America: Mayo Clinic; [updated 2019 Mar 14; cited 2019 Aug 29]. Available from:

  5. Complete Fitness [Internet]. Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome. Indian: Complete Fitness; [ updated 2019 Feb 20; cited 2019 Sep 12]. Available from:

  6. Slow Control [Internet]. Metabolic Syndrome. France: Slow Control; [cited 2019 Sep 12]. Available from:

Metabolic syndrome Fig 1 [5].jpg
Metabolic Syndrome Fig 2 [6].png
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