Metabolic Syndrome is Diagnosed by a Combination of Factors

May 9, 2018

When you can’t decide which entree sounds best to you at a restaurant, you may order a combo platter. When doctors couldn’t decide which risk factor was the deadliest, they created a name for this combo platter: metabolic syndrome.

While no universally accepted definition of the metabolic syndrome, or Met Syn, exists, various organizations agree, according to the Encyclopedia of Lifestyle, Medicine and Health, that Met Syn is diagnosed by a combination of 3 or more of the following factors:

First: visceral obesity, which is excess fat around the abdominal area
Second:  hypertension, which is high blood pressure
Third:  dyslipidemia: which is elevated  bad LDL cholesterol levels and low levels of the good HDL cholesterol
Fourth:  altered glucose/insulin metabolism.

This combination greatly increases risks of morbidity and mortality, particularly related to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

Controllable risk factors leading to development of Met Syn include the accumulation of excess fat, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet high in the fats that cause plaque to build in arteries. Therefore, weight loss through healthy eating and increased exercise is recommended as first-line therapy for Met Syn. The International Journal of Obesity found that losing weight not only has an impact on the individual components of metabolic syndrome, but that people diagnosed with Met Syn who lose 10% of their body weight improve to the point that they no longer fit the diagnosis.

Lundgren, J. D., Malcolm, R., Binks, M., & O'Neil, P. M. (2009). Remission of metabolic syndrome following a 15-week low-calorie lifestyle change program for weight loss. International Journal Of Obesity, 33(1), 144-150. doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.225

Melanson, K. J., & Melanson. (2012). Metabolic syndrome and diet. In J. M. Rippe, Encyclopedia of lifestyle medicine and health. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from