MSD Manual

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Quick Facts

Metabolic Syndrome


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
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What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolism refers to all the different chemical processes that go on in your body. Metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that involve your metabolism and give you a higher chance of having heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is very common in the United States. People with metabolic syndrome have:

What causes metabolic syndrome?

The cause of metabolic syndrome isn't known.

You're more likely to get metabolic syndrome if you store fat around your belly (you're apple-shaped) instead of your hips (you're pear-shaped). This happens in:

Metabolic syndrome can affect children and teens as well.

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome itself causes no symptoms. But you may have symptoms of its complications, such as:

How can doctors tell if I have metabolic syndrome?

Doctors diagnose you with metabolic syndrome if you have a large waist—40 inches (102 centimeters) or more in men and 35 inches (89 centimeters) or more in women—and 2 or more of the following:

  • High fasting blood sugar level (100 or higher)

  • High blood pressure (130/85 or higher OR you are taking blood pressure medicine)

  • High amount of fats in your blood (triglycerides of 150 or higher)

  • A low level of HDL ("good" cholesterol)

How do doctors treat metabolic syndrome?

Doctors will help you lose weight by having you eat a healthier diet and exercise more. They'll also give you medicines to treat any diseases you have, such as:

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