Metabolic Syndrome

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is really a group of risk factors – high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat particularly around the waist, and unbalanced blood fat levels - high total cholesterol, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high triglycerides. When a person has a combination of these risk factors, the risk of future heart disease, diabetes, stroke and fatty deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis) is much higher than any one factor presenting alone. 

Risk Factors 

 Waist Size 

Men: > 94cm

Women: > 80cm 

 Cholesterol: High Triglycerides

 ≥ 1.7 mmol/L or higher

or  using cholesterol medicine

 Cholesterol: Low Good Cholesterol (HDL) 

 Men: < 1.03 mmol/L

Women: < 1.29 mmol/L

or using cholesterol medicine

 High Blood Pressure

 ≥ 130/85 mmHg

or using high blood pressure medicine 

 Blood Sugar: High Fasting Glucose Level 

≥ 5.6 mmol/L

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you would have at least three of these risk factors.


What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

Experts aren't sure exactly why metabolic syndrome develops.  There are probably many different causes that interact. There is a genetic link, but diet and lifestyle can significantly affect genetic risk. 

Metabolic syndrome is associated with insulin resistance, in which the cells do not respond efficiently to insulin, and blood glucose and insulin levels increase over a period of time, ultimately resulting in non-insulin dependent diabetes.  Metabolic syndrome is therefore also called insulin resistance syndrome.


What are the Consequences of High Insulin Levels?

The role of insulin is to get nutrients into the cells, and “build” the body. High insulin levels therefore result in increased fat deposition, or weight gain, and reduces the body’s ability to access those fat stores (hard to lose weight).  Insulin also increases fluid retention, which can raise your blood pressure in the long term.  Since insulin is a hormone, it affects other hormones, primarily growth hormone, as well as sex hormones (testosterone and oestrogen), which can affect fertility, and cause other body changes such as weight distribution, hair growth, hair loss etc and may influence cancer risk. Insulin also affects immunity, blood clotting and inflammation in the body, increasing allergy symptoms, and risk of stroke, arthritis and gout.  Insulin is a potent appetite stimulant, making diet and lifestyle changes very difficult if it is not well controlled.


What YOU Can DO

If you are living with any of the risk factors mentioned above, or have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, it is time to get serious about improving your health. Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle now can prevent serious illness in the future.  You could also check out the content of the cooking dem we had on this subject.  Follow this link for details.



Additional information