Metabolic syndrome is a group of five health conditions that increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Generally, when a person has at least three of the five conditions, they are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. These conditions include:
- Large waist size
- High levels of triglycerides
- Low levels of HDL, or good cholesterol
- High blood pressure, and
- High blood glucose levels
Lt Col Reynolds
Metabolic syndrome is also called insulin resistance syndrome because it’s thought to be caused by insulin resistance. However, it’s possible to have one or more of these conditions without having insulin resistance, and it’s possible to have insulin resistance without having any of these other conditions.
Prediabetes means having blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose as type 2 diabetes. Like metabolic syndrome, prediabetes increases a person’s risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes. That progression can be significantly reduced if a person with prediabetes makes appropriate changes to their diet and physical activity.
Lt Col Reynolds
Sometimes, people use the terms prediabetes and metabolic syndrome interchangeably, but high blood glucose is only one of the conditions necessary for diagnosing metabolic syndrome. It’s possible to have metabolic syndrome without having prediabetes, and it’s possible to have prediabetes without having metabolic syndrome. But they do often appear together.
This section covers the five metabolic risk factors, as well as risk factors for developing prediabetes. You can also check out Living with Metabolic Syndrome for information on what treatments are available for managing metabolic risk factors and prediabetes.