Long-Term Follow-Up

Getting a Grasp on Metabolic Syndrome

 

Q. What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions rather than a disease. The conditions that make up metabolic syndrome are: abdominal obesity; blood fat disorders that increase the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries (low levels of HDL "good cholesterol," high levels of LDL, "bad cholesterol", and high triglycerides); high blood pressure; elevated blood sugar (insulin resistance); increased inflammation (elevated C-reactive protein in the blood); increased blood clotting (high levels of fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in the blood). A person with three of these six characteristics is considered to have metabolic syndrome.

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What is metabolic syndrome?

  

Q. Why do I need to know about metabolic syndrome?

Recent studies have shown that the risk of Metabolic Syndrome is two times higher in transplant patients than in the general population. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, patients who have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant need to be aware of their increased risk.

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Metabolic Syndrome

 

Q. How do I know if I have metabolic syndrome?

If you already have any of the conditions that are seen in metabolic syndrome, ask your health care provider to do tests to see if you have any of the other conditions. If you haven't been tested recently for any of the conditions, ask your health care provider for the appropriate tests. Discuss the test results and their significance with your health care provider.

The following test results are recognized by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to indicate the presence of conditions included in metabolic syndrome:

  • Waist measurement of 35 inches (88 cm) for women or 40 inches (102 cm) for men, or higher
  • HDL ("good") cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dl in men or 50 mg/dl in women
  • Blood triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dl or higher
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 or higher
  • Fasting blood glucose of 150 mg/dl or higher

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Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosis

 

Q. What treatment is available for metabolic syndrome?

Because metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions, each is treated independently. For example, a person with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and abdominal obesity might begin a diet and exercise program designed to help control blood pressure and blood sugar and to lose weight. Also, they might take blood pressure medication and medication to reduce their blood sugar.

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How is metabolic syndrome treated?

 

Q. Will treatment for the conditions found in metabolic syndrome lower my risk of cardiovascular (heart and circulation) problems?

Yes. You can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke (cardiovascular disease) by improving the conditions that put you at higher risk. Controlling blood sugar, high blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and triglyceride levels have been shown to improve cardiovascular health. Exercise and a healthy diet are two of the most important things you can do to lower your risk.

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Risk Factors

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