8 Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Metabolic syndrome is a complex health condition characterized by a number of metabolic imbalances. Since there is not one cut-and-dry root cause, metabolic syndrome has been a focus of the functional medicine community in recent years. Using a wide range of lifestyle changes, the team at Functional Nutrition Resources can help you lower your risk of a health emergency such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other serious health complications.
The syndrome has garnered increasing attention due to its rising prevalence, particularly in developed countries where sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary habits are common. The condition is often a result of genetic factors. If you notice metabolic syndrome symptoms, then it’s best to reach out to Functional Nutrition Resources at your earliest convenience. You can achieve the best outcomes when you start a wellness plan ASAP.
8 Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
1. Abdominal Obesity
Abdominal obesity, often referred to as central or visceral obesity, is a critical symptom of metabolic syndrome. Yes, there are different kinds of obesity. This kind sees fat accumulating around the middle of the body. Unlike subcutaneous fat found just under the skin, visceral fat accumulates around internal organs in the abdominal cavity.
This type of fat is metabolically active and releases inflammatory chemicals, hormones, and other molecules that contribute to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other metabolic disturbances.
Waist circumference is a straightforward way to assess abdominal obesity. Men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches are at higher risks of metabolic syndrome and related health complications.
2. High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, is another telling symptom of metabolic syndrome. Hypertension places excessive stress on the arteries, heart, and other blood vessels. Over time this can lead to endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The interplay between high blood pressure and other components of metabolic syndrome contributes to the overall cardiovascular risk. Managing blood pressure through lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, medication is essential in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Even if your high blood pressure isn’t a metabolic syndrome symptom, it’s important to address it.
3. High Blood Sugar
High fasting blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, are indicative of impaired glucose tolerance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. When blood sugar levels remain consistently elevated, they can damage blood vessels, impair circulation, and contribute to inflammation. This inflammation, in turn, exacerbates insulin resistance and further disrupts glucose regulation. Effective management of blood sugar levels through dietary changes, physical activity, and medical interventions can help prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.
4. High Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat stored in the body and can be influenced by dietary habits, genetics, and metabolic processes. Elevated triglyceride levels are common in individuals with metabolic syndrome and can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. High triglycerides are associated with reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and increased small dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, both of which promote plaque buildup in arteries. Addressing high triglycerides often involves adopting a heart-healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and, in some cases, taking medication.
5. Low HDL Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it transports excess cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver for processing and removal. In individuals with metabolic syndrome, low levels of HDL cholesterol are a common occurrence. This deficiency impairs the body’s ability to remove excess cholesterol, allowing it to accumulate in blood vessels and contribute to atherosclerosis. Improving HDL cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes such as exercising, quitting smoking, and adopting a balanced diet can reduce cardiovascular risk.
6. Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. In metabolic syndrome, excess abdominal fat and inflammation contribute to insulin resistance. As a result, the body requires higher amounts of insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check. This prolonged strain on the pancreas can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Managing insulin resistance involves weight loss, physical activity, and dietary changes that enhance insulin sensitivity.
One of the most challenging metabolic syndrome symptoms is inflammation. This inflammation disrupts normal cellular function and promotes the development of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular complications. The presence of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), signifies an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Addressing inflammation through lifestyle changes, including adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, can help mitigate these risks.
8. Prothrombotic State
Metabolic syndrome can lead to a symptom called a prothrombotic state. This is where the blood is more prone to clotting. This increases the risk of thrombotic events such as heart attacks and strokes. The combination of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and alterations in clotting factors contributes to this heightened clotting tendency. Preventive measures such as blood-thinning medications, if recommended by a healthcare provider, can help reduce the risk of these life-threatening events.
Consequences of Untreated Metabolic Syndrome
Reading through the list of metabolic syndrome symptoms, you can already see how serious this condition can be. Failure to address metabolic syndrome can have life-threatening health consequences. Individuals with untreated metabolic syndrome are at a significantly higher risk of developing the following conditions.
The combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance places significant strain on the cardiovascular system, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Type 2 Diabetes
Untreated insulin resistance often progresses to type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that requires lifelong management and increases the risk of further complications such as nerve damage, kidney problems, and vision issues.
Metabolic syndrome contributes to kidney damage and increases the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or transplantation.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is closely associated with metabolic syndrome. Over time it can progress to more severe liver conditions, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Metabolic syndrome exacerbates obesity-related health issues, such as joint problems, sleep apnea, and decreased quality of life.
Get to the Bottom of Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms with a Functional Medicine Wellness Plan
While metabolic syndrome might be a complex health condition, functional medicine and personalized wellness can help. At Functional Nutrition Resources, we rely on advanced testing to pinpoint specific imbalances and health conditions in the body. Let us show you what’s going on with your body and develop a custom wellness plan just for you.
We can’t say it enough – early recognition of metabolic syndrome symptoms and proactive lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and weight management, are essential for preventing and managing metabolic syndrome. Left untreated, metabolic syndrome and its symptoms can have dire consequences for an individual’s health, making it crucial to prioritize its prevention and treatment.