Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. About 35% of the US adult population has metabolic syndrome. For those aged 60 or more, the rate is close to 50%.
Women are more likely to suffer with metabolic syndrome than men, and Hispanics have a higher rate than non-Hispanics.
Just What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of 5 symptoms. If you have 3 or more of these symptoms you are said to have metabolic syndrome. These symptoms are:
- Elevated blood pressure of 130/85 or more.
- High triglycerides of 150 mg/dl or more
- Low HDL cholesterol, less than or equal to 40mg/dl for men and 50mg/dl in women
- Elevated fasting blood glucose levels of 100 mg/dl or more
- Central obesity generally associated with a BMI of 30 or more
A study reported in the the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that metabolic syndrome is increasing long term in the United States. In 2003-2004 the rate was 32.9% but increased to 34.7% in 2011-2012, a 5% increase. Some short term studies indicate that in recent years the rate have leveled out.
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome means that many people are suffering from increased risks for a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And often the symptoms and diseases result in limitations of lifestyle options. In addition, a study of members of 3 health care plans indicated that those with 3 symptoms had 60% higher costs for health care than those without symptoms. And, the costs increased by a further 24% when a fourth or or fifth symptom was added.
These individual symptoms are pretty common among Americans. About a third of Americans have high blood pressure. About a third of American have high triglycerides. A fifth of American adults have low HDL cholesterol. Slightly under 10% of the population has elevated fasting blood glucose levels. And, a third of the population is obese.
Next, let’s look at how doctors treat metabolic syndrome. Continue reading