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Metabolic Syndrome

Knowing where your body carries fat is important to understanding your risk for various diseases. People who carry fat in the abdominal region (apple-shaped) have greater health risks than those who carry fat primarily in the hips and thighs (pear-shaped).

High-risk waist lines
Women – 35 inches or more
Men – 40 inches or more

About metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors linked to being overweight or obese that may increase the chance for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. A person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone without metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a person has at least three of these risk factors:

  • A large waist line (apple-shaped obesity) – Gaining too much fat in the abdominal area increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • High triglyceride level – Greater than 150 mg/dl
  • Low level of HDL cholesterol – An HDL cholesterol level less than 50 mg/dl for women and less than 40 mg/dl for men is a component of metabolic syndrome.
  • High blood pressure – An ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80.
  • High fasting blood sugar (glucose) – A fasting blood sugar of 126 mg/dl or higher on two or more occasions is considered diabetes.

Preventing metabolic syndrome

  • Maintain a healthy weight and normal body mass index (less than 25).
  • Maintain waist circumference less than 35 inches in women and less than 40 inches in   men.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan, which includes whole grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats and portion control. Avoid trans fatty acids.
  • Exercise 30 minutes at moderate intensity on most days of the week.
  • Discuss risk factors with your health care provider.

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