Metabolic syndrome

In the case of long-term unhealthy lifestyles, people will gradually develop health problems and symptoms that are collectively referred to as metabolic syndrome. It is manifested by the following symptoms (not all must always be present and vice versa, not every symptom necessarily indicates MS):

  • overweight (obesity)
  • high blood pressure
  • dyslipidemia (bad cholesterol markers – HDL to LDL ratio, total to HDL, triglycerides, more recently also lipoprotein(a), LDL-P (number of LDL particles, not their total volume), apolipoprotein B (or B to A1 apolipoprotein ratio))
  • high blood sugar (glucose level)
  • low metabolic flexibility (excessive adaptation to carbohydrates)
  • insulin resistance
  • poor ω-3:ω-6 ratio in tissues
  • newer: hs-CRP (inflammation signal in the body), homocysteine

Metabolic syndrome is particularly dangerous because it does not usually cause symptoms (except weight gain) when it develops. Also, direct diagnostics e.g. of atherosclerosis in the early stages is ineffective. Therefore, often only later serious consequences are addressed, which are:

  • diabetes (type 2)
  • effects of untreated diabetes – visual impairment, kidney damage, leg amputation (diabetic foot)
  • atherosclerosis – clogging of blood vessels
  • atherosclerosis consequences: heart attacks and strokes

Risk factors are the following:

  • smoking (tobacco), alcoholism (not mild drinking)
  • oxidative stress from polluted environment
  • traditional “western” diet, semi-finished, industrially processed and refined foods, trans fats, fast food, overeating
  • excessive carbohydrate consumption (fast carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, added sugar, especially added fructose)
  • lack of necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants in the diet
  • stress (increases both blood pressure and LDL concentration)
  • minimal or no physical activity
  • uninfluenceable factors such as genetics, age (older people), gender (men are more at risk in middle age, then it is equal)
  • debatable: saturated fats (under certain circumstances)

Metabolic syndrome can be prevented mainly by a healthy lifestyle.

Back: Lifestyle diseases