Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tackling one of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome is tough — taking on all of them might seem overwhelming. But aggressive lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication can improve all of metabolic syndrome components. Getting more physical activity, losing weight and quitting smoking help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These changes are key to reducing your risk.

  • Exercise. Doctors recommend getting 30 or more minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, every day.
  • Lose weight. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce insulin levels and blood pressure and decrease your risk of diabetes.
  • Eat healthy. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet, like many healthy-eating plans, limit unhealthy fats and emphasize fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. Both of these dietary approaches have been found to offer important health benefits — in addition to weight loss — for people who have components of metabolic syndrome. Ask your doctor for guidance before starting a new eating plan.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes increases insulin resistance and worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome. Talk to your doctor if you need help kicking the cigarette habit.

Work with your doctor to monitor your weight and your blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels to ensure that lifestyle modifications are working. If you're not able to reach your goals with lifestyle changes, your doctor may also prescribe medications to lower blood pressure, control cholesterol or help you lose weight. Taking a daily aspirin — after discussing it with your doctor — may help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Apr. 05, 2013