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Metabolic syndrome is a wide range of metabolic disorders that are associated with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is also known as metabolic syndrome X, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, Reaven's syndrome and CHAOS. This serious health concern is wide spread in the modern society, and scientists estimate that it affects one in five people. The prevalence of the disease, however, drastically increases with the age. According to some sources, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the United Sates is up to 20% of the population. This syndrome usually includes conditions such as increased blood pressure, elevated levels of insulin and cholesterol, or excess body fat, especially in the region around the waist.

Symptoms of metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed if three or more metabolic disorders are present in a single patient at the same time. The first disorder includes obesity and accumulation of excessive fat around the waist. The second symptom of metabolic syndrome is characterized by a systolic blood pressure measurement higher than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), or a diastolic blood pressure measurement higher than 80 mm Hg. Another prominent symptom is the elevated level of triglycerides and low levels of the so called “good cholesterol”. Patients resistant to insulin are also at a greater risk of metabolic syndrome.

However, having at least one of these symptoms makes a patient more likely to have any of the others. The person should seek medical help if at least one of the symptoms is present. 

Causes of metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a disease linked to various disturbances in normal functioning of the metabolism. It is possibly associated with the insulin resistance, and regulation of blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. The insulin is normally produced by the pancreas to support the process in which glucose from the food enters the living cells. People suffering from insulin resistance do not respond normally to insulin. Their body produces excess amounts of insulin to help the glucose get into the cells. The final outcome is the increased level of insulin in the blood, diabetes and various associated conditions.

Prolonged stress is considered one of the major factors in the development of the metabolic syndrome, as it upsets the hormonal balance in the body and raises the glucose and insulin levels. Sedentary lifestyle is also associated with numerous cardiovascular diseases and increased mortality. Aging is another prominent risk factor, as the studies report that the metabolic syndrome usually affects older population. It is diagnosed in 44% of the U.S. population older than age 50.

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