* Waist measurement of 40 inches or greater in men and 35 inches or greater in women.
* Serum triglycerides level greater than 150mg/dl.
* HDL cholesterol less than 40 mg/dl. in men and Less than 50mg/dl in women.
* Blood pressure of 135/85 mm Hg. or greater.
* Fasting serum glucose of 100mg/dl or higher.
The central issue in Metabolic Syndrome is control of blood sugar; not just the glucose value on your blood test, but how much insulin is needed to keep the level within normal limits. Also important is how much glucose is in your system over time; the hemoglobin A1c test evaluates the average glucose level over a period of two months.
What causes Metabolic Syndrome? The primary cause is poor diet, especially excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates that rapidly convert to blood sugar. Contributing factors include stress, lack of exercise, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Over time, the body loses its ability to normally metabolize carbohydrates, thus more and more insulin is required to do the same work. This phenomenon is called insulin resistance.
What can this syndrome do to your health? Weight gain is the most noticeable effect, but hypertension, atherosclerosis, fatty liver disease, systemic inflammation, kidney damage, increased coagulability of the blood and diabetes also have significant ties to Metabolic Syndrome. There are some additional connections to hormones. Too much insulin in men can lead to a decrease in testosterone. Elevated triglycerides can block leptins from telling the brain that enough food has been consumed and without this communication, overeating can occur. Cortisol – the stress hormone – may cause glucose to be elevated, even when no food has been eaten recently, but at the expense of lean muscle mass.
Blood tests related to Metabolic Syndrome. There are a number of tests that have relevance in this insidious health challenge. These include several tests that are typically part of comprehensive panels; glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, the liver enzyme SGPT, uric acid, and phosphorus. Along with assessing levels of insulin (a review of the reference range should be considered in light of recent research) and hemoglobin A1c, your doctor can gain insight into your ability to metabolize sugar and carbohydrates, and some of the related health issues that may be affecting you.