Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome

Back to top

WHAT IS METABOLIC SYNDROME?

Metabolic syndrome, otherwise known as syndrome x, occurs when a number of conditions happen simultaneously, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar levels or insulin resistance
  • Body fat accumulating around the waist
  • Irregular cholesterol levels
Back to top

WHY IS METABOLIC SYNDROME DANGEROUS?

According to a recent statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO), heart disease and strokes are identified as leading causes of fatalities in South Africa.

Back to top

HOW IS METABOLIC SYNDROME DIAGNOSED?

The SEMDSA (Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa) 2017 guidelines has outlined the below as indicators of metabolic syndrome:

Back to top

WHAT ARE THE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS?

Inactivity
Obesity
High intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates
Stress
Smoking
Excessive alcohol consumption

Back to top

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Metabolic syndrome is a powerful silent killer due to its symptoms often being unnoticeable.

When blood sugar levels are very high – increased thirst, the tendency to urinate often and blurred vision can result. The most obvious red flag is a larger waist circumference.

Back to top

THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF EACH CONDITION

CENTRAL OBESITY

Obesity is thought to trigger changes to the chemical processes of the body. These changes cause fat tissue to release fat molecules into the blood, which can affect the cells that respond to insulin, thereby reducing the body’s reaction to insulin (insulin sensitivity).
Studies suggest that abdominal fat prompts the release of chemicals that cause the body to become red, hot, swollen and pain-ridden, which could lead to lowered insulin sensitivity and eventual resistance.

Back to top

INSULIN RESISTANCE

Insulin resistance (IR) occurs when the body’s cells do not respond to insulin, which is a hormone that transports glucose from the bloodstream to the cells for energy. Certain levels of insulin are necessary to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range. However, soaring insulin levels may trigger:

Weight gain: The levels of insulin, which is a messenger that instructs the body to store fat, increase dramatically.
Insulin resistance is the precursor to type II diabetes, whereby the beta cells of the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance, spiking blood sugar levels.

Back to top

HYPERTENSION

Classification of Blood Pressure (BP) for adults according to the South African hypertension practice guideline 2014. BP should be categorised into the highest level of BP whether systolic or diastolic.

The consequences of elevated blood pressure include:

Risk of heart disease: The coronary arteries leading to the heart become progressively narrow from a build-up of plaque (fat, cholesterol and other substances). When the blood flow of the heart muscle is interrupted, it is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, causing a heart attack.
Risk of a stroke: Damaged and weakened blood vessels of the brain, or clots that are formed in the arteries of the brain, obstruct blood flow, potentially causing a stroke.

Back to top

CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol is an important waxy substance that originates from the liver and diet in humans and animals, which forms a structural part of many hormones and cells. An excess of bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and a lack of good cholesterol (HDL) may, however, lead to heart disease in the following ways:

Hardening of the arteries: Too much LDL cholesterol in your body can accumulate in your arteries, clogging them and making them less flexible.
Increased risk of heart failure: Due to the hardened arteries, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body.
Heart attack: The build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
A piece of plaque can also block blood flow to the brain, or dislodge and form a clot, leading to a stroke.

Back to top

IMPACT OF STRESS

  • Increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance
  • Weight gain
  • An impaired immune system
  • Indigestion
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
Back to top

MANAGING METABOLIC SYNDROME

Metabolic Syndrome is managed through targeting the leading causes:

Appropriate and aggressive therapy is essential for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lifestyle changes should be implemented – exercise, healthy diet, no smoking, low alcohol intake and stress management.
Prescribed medication should aid in combatting insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Ideally, treatment should address all the components of the syndrome!

Please Note: This is an educational information leaflet only and should not be used for diagnosis. For more information on Metabolic Syndrome, consult your healthcare professional.

More Information here Download PDF Medical References

Medical References

1.The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 89, Issue 6, 1 June 2004, Pages 2595–2600, Scott M. Grundy, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Cardiovascular Disease 2.Journal of Cardiology Research and Practice, March 2014, Jaspinder Kaur, A Comprehensive Review on Metabolic Syndrome 3.Journal of Metabolic Syndrome, open access, December 2017, Volume 6, Issue 4, Metabolic Syndrome 4. JRSM Cardiovascular Disease, March 2016, Thang S Han, Mike EJ Lean, A clinical perspective of obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease 5.European Heart Journal Supplements, Volume 7, Issue suppl.D, 1 June 2005, Pages D3–D5, George Alberti, Introduction to the metabolic syndrome 6. Medscape, March 2017, Stanley S Wang, MD, Metabolic Syndrome 7. SA Heart, 2010, Volume 7, Number 3, Martin T, MPE, Cardiovascular disease in South Africa 8. JRSM Cardiovascular Disease, 2016, Thang S Hang and Mike EJ Lean, A clinical perspective of obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease 9. Diabetes Care 2004 Dec; 27(12): 3009-3016, Zachary T. Bloomgarden, MD, Dyslipidemia and the Metabolic Syndrome 10. PLOS One, August 2015, Miroslaw Janczura, Grazyna Bochenek , Roman Nowobilski , Jerzy Dropinski , Katarzyna Kotula-Horowitz , Bartosz Laskowicz , Andrzej Stanisz , Jacek Lelakowski , Teresa Domagala, The Relationship of Metabolic Syndrome with Stress, Coronary Heart Disease and Pulmonary Function – An Occupational Cohort-Based Study 11. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2015, Joseph Fomusi Ndisang, Sharad Rastogi, and Alfredo Vannacci, Insulin Resistance, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, and Related Complications 2015 12. The South African Medical Journal, Vol 102, No 11 (2012), Rajiv Timothy Erasmus, David Jonah Soita, Mogamat Shafick Hassan, Ernesto Blanco-Blanco, Zelda Vergotine, Andre P Kengne, Tandi Edith Matsha, High prevalence of diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome in a South African coloured population: Baseline data of a study in Bellville, Cape Town 13. JEMDSA 2017 Volume 22 Number 1 (Supplement 1) Page S1-S196, SEMDSA 2017 Guidelines for the Management of Type 2 diabetes mellitus 14. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2014 Nov-Dec; 25(6): 288–294, YK Seedat, South African hypertension practice guideline 2014

Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area

RECENT BROCHURE

Concentration and Memory

Everyone experiences occasional trouble with memory, whatever life stage we’re at.

RECENT BROCHURE

Joint Health

Healthy joints are vital for staying mobile throughout your life and doing the sports and other activities you enjoy. 

RECENT BROCHURE

Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis, also widely known as hay fever, affects up to 10-20% of people, globally.

RECENT BROCHURE

COVID-19 - Post vaccine FAQS

Information on post-vaccination care

RECENT BROCHURE

Excessive Sweating

Causes and risks of excessive sweating 

Content Disclaimer:
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Dis-Chem website or app are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to establish a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. You understand and acknowledge that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
Back to top