Metabolic syndrome is primarily caused by obesity and inactivity.
Metabolic syndrome is linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Normally, your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into sugar (glucose). Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps sugar enter your cells to be used as fuel.
In people with insulin resistance, cells don't respond normally to insulin, and glucose can't enter the cells as easily. As a result, glucose levels in your blood rise despite your body's attempt to control the glucose by churning out more and more insulin.
This can eventually lead to diabetes when your body is unable to make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose within the normal range.
Aug. 22, 2014
- Metabolic syndrome. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Insulin resistance and prediabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Jameson JL, et al. Endocrinology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Meigs JB. The metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 12, 2014.