Metabolic Syndrome

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Metabolic syndrome is an accumulation of several disorders that raise the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, peripheral vascular diseases, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes mellitus. The cluster of metabolic disorders that define metabolic syndrome includes central obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and atherogenic dyslipidemia.

The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome requires the presence of 3 or more metabolic abnormalities:

  1. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women

  2. Serum triglycerides level of 150 mg/dL or greater

  3. Reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women

  4. Elevated fasting glucose of l00 mg/dL or greater

  5. Blood pressure values of systolic 130 mm Hg or higher or diastolic 85 mm Hg or higher

Patients with metabolic syndrome are estimated to have a 2-fold increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases and a 5-fold increased risk of diabetes mellitus, as compared to the general population. Metabolic syndrome is also associated with accelerated atherosclerosis, premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, and early onset type II diabetes mellitus. The sedentary lifestyle and excess consumption of calories have significantly increased the proportion of the population with obesity in the last few decades. Due to this exponential growth in population obesity, the incidence of metabolic syndrome has increased significantly over the last 2 decades. Currently, more than one-fifth of Americans, as well as the European population, are suffering from metabolic syndrome.

Central obesity is the primary component of metabolic syndrome, leading to insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. The clinical presentation of metabolic syndrome is variable and depends on the underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The common signs of metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity with high body mass index and increased waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, and signs of insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome has serious implications for an individual’s health. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is rising, and through intervention, the progression can be halted and potentially reversed.

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