Early symptoms of metabolic syndrome

The most notable of the early symptoms of metabolic syndrome is a large waist line – inches for men and 35 inches for women. Metabolic syndrome is said to occur when any three of these five conditions are present at the same time; excessive weight around the waist, high levels of triglycerides, low levels of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol), high blood pressure, and high fasting blood glucose levels.

Metabolic syndrome symptoms include:

·         Obesity.

·         Hypertension.

·         High blood sugar.

·         Abnormal blood cholesterol.

·         High blood triglycerides.

 Coincidentally, people with a personal or family history of type 2 diabetes have high rates of cholesterol and triglyceride abnormalities, obesity, and high blood pressure, which puts them at an increased of developing metabolic syndrome. Conversely, metabolic syndrome increases the risk for diabetes.  Additionally, insulin resistance is another risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Further risk factors are Hispanic or Asian ethnicity, female gender, being older than 60 years of age, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, hormonal imbalance, and polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition to diabetes, metabolic syndrome can contribute to the onset of heart disease, stroke, arteriosclerosis, and heart attack.

In addition to the combination of conditions described above, a doctor can diagnose metabolic syndrome with the following tests:

·         Body mass index and waist measurement.

·         Gauging blood pressure.

·         Blood tests

-        Lipid profile.

-        Fasting glucose.

-        Insulin.

Metabolic syndrome can be managed and even prevented with healthy lifestyle habits.

Treatment for metabolic syndrome/Lifestyle changes



  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products like skim milk.
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and trout, about twice a week.
  • Fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes.
  • Legumes, for example kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans.
  • Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and carrots.
  • Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas.
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocados; corn, sunflower, or soybean oils; nuts and seeds; olive, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame oils; peanut butter; salmon and trout; and tofu.


·         Saturated fat.

·         Trans fat.

·         Sodium.

·         Alcohol.

·         Sugary beverages.

Body mass index


·         Below 18.5.


·         Between 18.5 and 24.9.


·         Between 25.0 and 29.9.


·         30.0 or higher.

Healthy weight

Losing 3%-5% of one’s current weight, if one is overweight, can reduce triglycerides, blood glucose, and the risk for type 2 diabetes.


  • Stress management programs.
  • Meditation.
  • Physical activity.
  • Relaxation therapy.
  • Talking to friends or family.


·         2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week; or,

·         1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.

·         Talk to a doctor before starting an exercise regimen.


·         Quitting smoking.


Lifestyle changes may not be enough to keep metabolic syndrome in check, in which case the doctor may prescribe statins to control or decrease cholesterol levels, as well as other medications.

Related: Women with diabetes at risk of coronary disease