Metabolic Syndrome
Dr. Renuka Dangare

Dr. Renuka Dangare

Jun 29General wellness

Metabolic Syndrome

About Metabolism and its role in the body

Metabolism is an internal process that happens in multiple steps in the human body. Through this process, the body utilizes energy and burns calories. Metabolism is a 24x7 function that is constantly happening even when the body is resting or sleeping. The key tasks carried out in the metabolism process are conversion of food and nutrients (digestion) that becomes energy required in breathing, blood circulation, growth and repair of cells and overall survival. Each person has a different and unique metabolism rate depending on their genes, which lets their body function at different intensities.

What is metabolic syndrome?

When the metabolic process goes off and is disturbed, the body’s overall internal well-being gets affected and its internal environment starts altering with hormonal imbalances and malabsorption of the body waste or byproducts. This can be caused due to several factors and further result in metabolic syndrome which basically is a combination of risk factors caused due to genes, environment or lifestyle and habits that cause comorbid ailments. It is also known as dysmetabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemic waist, insulin resistance syndrome, obesity syndrome, syndrome X. MS (metabolic syndrome) increases the risk of diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, stroke etc. It can also cause heart atherosclerosis, which is a condition where plaque (a fatty substance) is deposited within the walls of arteries, which are crucial for blood supply and a healthy heart. It may also lead to complications such as ischemic heart disease, where the blood supply to the heart gets blocked due to plaque.

Some factors that can causes alteration in metabolism are -

  1. Obesity
  2. Insulin resistance
  3. Sedentary or physically inactive lifestyle
  4. Genes or DNA traits
  5. Old age

Risk factors for metabolism

The below 5 conditions can be considered as metabolic risk factors and they usually occur together. However, to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, one has to have at least 3 of these risk factors.

Larger waistline – Also known as abdominal obesity, in this condition excess fat is deposited in the stomach area. It is a huge risk factor for heart ailments, compared to excess fat in other body areas.

Higher triglyceride level – Triglyceride is a type of body fat that is found in the blood. Higher levels of this fat denote a higher risk of MS. The treatment and medicines used to treat high triglycerides is also a risk.

Lower HDL cholesterol levels (or treatment for this) – Commonly known as the “good” cholesterol, HDL is essential in removing cholesterol from the arteries. Hence, lower levels of HDL are a huge risk factor and can cause heart ailments.

High blood pressure (or treatment for this) – When the pressure and force of the blood pushing against the walls in arteries increases and stays high for a long period, it can cause damage to your heart leading to plaque buildup. 

High fasting blood sugar (or treatment for this) - Mildly high blood sugar could be an early symptom or sign of diabetes. Diabetes can lead to several health complications further.

What are some health ailments that are associated with MS?

  • A fatty liver - Excess deposition of triglycerides and other fats in the liver can cause the fatty liver ailment that deteriorates the health and important functions of the liver over a period of time.
  • Gallstones – Hardened deposits of the digestive fluid called bile to get formed in the gallbladder, disrupting the functions of the gallbladder and leading to several health complications.
  • Breathing problems – Difficulty in breathing due to bad lung strength. Especially during sleep and causing complications such as sleep apnea.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – Due to the hormonal imbalance, women are at a higher risk to be diagnosed with PCOS – a condition where cysts are developed on the ovaries which further affect their menstrual health and fertility.

The correlation between PCOS and MS

Due to many risk factors that are overlapping, MS and PCOS can happen in parallel in women. Both these conditions are closely associated with a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, nutrient-deficient diet, insulin resistance and also obesity in some cases.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar in the cells where it is further used up as energy. Insulin resistance leads to high blood sugar levels which is also linked to obesity. This also causes high testosterone levels in women which cause skin and hair problems.

Diagnosis & Treatment

You must consider visiting your doctor who in this case would recommend you for a physical exam and some blood tests. You must surely consider having yourself checked if you have at least three of the five metabolic risk factors. Some common treatments for MS are -

  1. Modifications in lifestyle for a healthy heart – Better eating habits, regular workouts, weight and stress management, completely quitting smoking and alcohol.
  2. Medicines – Treatments for the risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides levels and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, can also be considered as treatments for MS.

Your doctor may also consider some medications to:

  • Decrease the chances of having a heart attack or stroke
  • Prevent blood clotting
  • Reduce the workload of the heart and symptoms of coronary heart disease

Living with MS

It could be a condition that stays for a lifetime, however, modifications in lifestyle and the right medicines that control the risk factors will effectively limit the implications of MS on the quality of your life and the way the diseases progress further into a fatality. You can also plan and follow some long-term or short-term goals with your doctor, with regular checkups and monitoring. And remember that it’s a combination of a healthy lifestyle and medicines, that will help you in controlling the risk of metabolic syndrome.


Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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