Related articles: Metabolic syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is a set of concomitant metabolic alterations, which together determine an increase in cardiovascular risk.
In particular, we can speak of a metabolic syndrome if, in the same individual, three or more of the following occurrences are detected:
- Increase in waist circumference> 102 cm (man) or> 88 cm (woman), as an index of obesity localized to the abdomen;
- Systolic blood pressure? 130 mmHg and diastolic? 85 mmHg (hypertension);
- Fasting blood glucose equal to or greater than 100 mg / dl;
- High blood triglyceride values (> 150 mg / dl);
- Reduction of HDL cholesterol (the so-called "good" cholesterol) <40 mg / dl (man) or <50 mg / dl (woman).
The causes of the metabolic syndrome are to be found in a combination of incorrect habits (diet and poor physical activity) and family predisposition (genetics). Furthermore, the risk of developing this condition increases with age and if you suffer from diabetes.
Most common symptoms and signs *
- Weight gain
- Decline in sexual desire
- insulin Resistance
The metabolic syndrome is often "silent": the people who suffer from it do not present particular symptoms and feel good, despite the growing predisposition to develop conditions such as diabetes and various cardiovascular diseases in the future. For this reason, it happens with some frequency that the metabolic syndrome is discovered by chance, during checks and diagnostic tests performed for other reasons.
The complications of the metabolic syndrome are similar to those of obesity. The excess of abdominal fat determines an increase of free fatty acids at the level of the portal vein, with an increase in the lipid accumulation in the liver. Fat is also collected in muscle cells.
Insulin resistance (a hormone that allows blood glucose to enter the cells of target organs such as liver, muscle and adipose tissue) promotes the onset of hyperglycemia, diabetes, dyslipidemia and arterial hypertension.
Serum levels of uric acid are typically elevated (hyperuricemia) and a prothrombotic state develops (with increased levels of fibrinogen and a type I plasminogen activator inhibitor). Furthermore, patients have an increased risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and chronic kidney disease.
The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome requires the coexistence of at least 3 altered risk factors (the higher the number of conditions one suffers from, the greater the likelihood of developing the problem) or otherwise pharmacologically treated. Particular attention must be paid to the various risk factors (such as abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, low levels of HDL cholesterol and familiarity for diseases such as diabetes) that may predispose you to the development of this syndrome .
An optimal approach to problem management involves a lifestyle adjustment and weight loss based on a healthy diet and regular physical activity. At the same time, it is also necessary to intervene on other cardiovascular risk factors (eg stop smoking).
Depending on the specific situation, the doctor may prescribe a drug treatment. For example, the use of hypoglycemic agents to reduce blood sugar, lipid-lowering agents to counteract hypertriglyceridemia or drugs to control hypertension may be indicated.