Having metabolic syndrome means you have three or more disorders related to your metabolism at the same time, including:

  • Obesity, with your body fat concentrated around your waist (having an "apple shape"). For a metabolic syndrome diagnosis, obesity is defined by having a waist circumference of 40 inches (102 centimeters or cm) or more for men and 35 inches (89 cm) or more for women, although waist circumference cutoff points can vary by race.
  • Increased blood pressure, meaning a systolic (top number) blood pressure measurement of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or more or a diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure measurement of 85 mm Hg or more.
  • High blood sugar level, with a fasting blood glucose test result of 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 5.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or more.
  • High cholesterol, with a level of the blood fat called triglycerides of 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or more and a level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the "good" cholesterol — of less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L) for men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for women.

Having one component of metabolic syndrome means you're more likely to have others. And the more components you have, the greater are the risks to your health.

When to see a doctor

If you know you have at least one component of metabolic syndrome — such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or an apple-shaped body — you may have the others and not know it. It's worth checking with your doctor. Ask whether you need testing for other components of the syndrome and what you can do to avoid serious diseases.

Apr. 05, 2013